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
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences