An international team of conservationist scientists and practitioners has published new research showing the precarious state of the world’s primary forests.
Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society.
Madagascar’s Makira forest is one of the world’s great primary forests home to wildlife found nowhere else on earth including this red-ruffed lemur. 57 percent of all tropical forest species are dependent on primary forest habitat and the ecological processes they provide.
The global analysis and map are featured in a paper appearing in the esteemed journal Conservation Letters and reveals that only five percent of the world’s pre-agricultural primary forest cover is now found in protected areas.
Led by Professor Brendan Mackey, Director of the Climate Change Response Program at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, the authors are experts in forest ecology, conservation biology, international policy and practical forest conservation issues.
Representing organisations such as the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, the Geos Institute and Australian National University, they conclude that primary forest protection is the joint responsibility of developed as well as developing countries and is a matter of global concern.
Primary forests – largely ignored by policy makers and under increasing land use threats – are forests where there are no visible indications of human activities, especially industrial-scale land use, and ecological processes have not been significantly disrupted.
These forests are home to an extraordinary richness of biodiversity, with up to 57 percent of all tropical forest species dependent on primary forest habitat and the ecological processes they provide.
The analysis shows that almost 98 per cent of primary forest is found within 25 countries, with around half of that located in five developed countries: the U.S., Canada, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
Professor Mackey warns that industrial logging, mining and agriculture gravely threaten primary forests, and those outside of protected areas are especially vulnerable.
He adds that policies are urgently needed to reduce pressure to open up primary forests for industrial land use.
“International negotiations are failing to halt the loss of the world’s most important primary forests,” says Professor Mackey. “In the absence of specific policies for primary forest protection in biodiversity and climate change treaties, their unique biodiversity values and ecosystem services will continue to be lost in both developed and developing countries.”
Co-author James Watson, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, says: “Primary forests are a matter of significant conservation concern. Most forest-endemic biodiversity needs primary forest for their long-term persistence and large intact forest landscapes are under increasingly pressure from incompatible land use.”
The authors identify four new actions that would provide a solid policy foundation for key international negotiations, including forest-related multilateral agreements to help ensure primary forests persist into the 21st century:
1 Recognise primary forests as a matter of global concern within international negotiations and not just as a problem in developing nations;
2 Incorporate primary forests into environmental accounting, including the special contributions of their ecosystem services (including freshwater and watershed services), and use a science-based definition to distinguish primary forests;
3 Prioritise the principle of avoided loss – emphasise policies that seek to avoid any further biodiversity loss and emissions from primary forest deforestation and degradation;
4 Universally accept the important role of indigenous and community conserved areas – governments could use primary forest protection as a mechanism within multilateral environmental agreements to support sustainable livelihoods for the extensive populations of forest-dwelling peoples, especially traditional peoples, in developed and developing countries.
Brendan Mackey, Griffith University; Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute; Cyril Kormos, The Wild Foundation; David Lindenmayer and Sonia Hugh, Australian National University; Noelle Kumpel, Zoological Society of London; Barbara Zimmerman, International Conservation Fund of Canada; Virginia Young, Forest Alive; Sean Foley, The Samdhana Institute; Kriton Arsenis, RoadFree Initiative; James Watson, Wildlife Conservation Society.
Stephen Sautner | newswise
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology