Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World's Primary Forests on the Brink

20.08.2014
  • Paper delivers clear policy to safeguard world’s primary forests
  • New global research reveals extreme vulnerability of primary forests
  • Authors say just 22 percent of primary forests are located in protected areas, which is the equivalent of only five percent of original primary forest
  • Analysis provides clear policy recommendations to protect primary forests

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.

AUTHORS

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.

Paper URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12120/full

MEDIA CONTACTS:
(Australia) Michael Jacobson 0408 727 734 and m.jacobson@griffith.edu.au
(US) Stephen Sautner 1-718-220-3682 and ssautner@wcs.org

Stephen Sautner | newswise
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Mental Disorders and Physical Diseases Co-occur in Teenagers
08.04.2015 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers observe major hand hygiene problems in operating rooms
30.03.2015 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Astronomers reveal supermassive black hole's intense magnetic field

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a...

Im Focus: A “pin ball machine” for atoms and photons

A team of physicists from MPQ, Caltech, and ICFO proposes the combination of nano-photonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems and creating new states of matter.

Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, that are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have been proven to be one of the most...

Im Focus: UV light robot to clean hospital rooms could help stop spread of 'superbugs'

Can a robot clean a hospital room just as well as a person?

According to new research out of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, that is indeed the case. Chetan Jinadatha, M.D., M.P.H., assistant...

Im Focus: Graphene pushes the speed limit of light-to-electricity conversion

Researchers from ICFO, MIT and UC Riverside have been able to develop a graphene-based photodetector capable of converting absorbed light into an electrical voltage at ultrafast timescales

The efficient conversion of light into electricity plays a crucial role in many technologies, ranging from cameras to solar cells.

Im Focus: Study shows novel pattern of electrical charge movement through DNA

Electrical charges not only move through wires, they also travel along lengths of DNA, the molecule of life. The property is known as charge transport.

In a new study appearing in the journal Nature Chemistry, authors, Limin Xiang, Julio Palma, Christopher Bruot and others at Arizona State University's...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineer Improves Rechargeable Batteries with MoS2 Nano 'Sandwich'

17.04.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Comparing Climate Models to Real World Shows Differences in Precipitation Intensity

17.04.2015 | Earth Sciences

A blueprint for clearing the skies of space debris

17.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>