Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surprise! Biodiversity and resource use may co-exist in tropical forests

28.03.2011
Local participation in forest management may simultaneously promote biodiversity and sustainable resource use for household livelihoods

Contrary to popular belief, the biodiversity of a tropical forest may be conserved while its resources are used to support local household livelihoods, according to a new study published in the March 25 issue of Science. But biodiversity and resource use are most likely to successfully co-exist in forests that are managed under systems that receive inputs from local forest users or local communities.

These study results imply that one important way for governments to simultaneously promote biodiversity and forest-based livelihoods is to formalize the rights of local people to contribute to rulemakings on the management and use of local forests.

This study, which was partially funded by the National Science Foundation, was conducted by a team led by Lauren Persha of the University of Michigan.

Forest policy decentralization reforms that transfer ownership and management responsibilities to local forest user organizations have already been introduced in more than two-thirds of the developing world. However, this approach's effectiveness has been questioned because of its potential to enable elites to dominate resource use and because of potential weaknesses in links between local decision-makers and larger governing bodies.

But despite such criticism, the Persha team found that forest management inputs from local forest users and communities may promote the growth of forests that are biologically diverse and support local household livelihoods. The researchers attribute the dual success of local inputs to their potential for generating rules that support sustainability and accommodate specific local forest conditions. Such rules thereby help foster forests that support local livelihoods over the long term and so gain legitimacy and relevance.

Study results also indicate that larger tropical forests are more likely to simultaneously support biodiversity and forest-based livelihoods than are smaller tropical forests. But for a given forest size, the probability of achieving such dual success is higher in forests where local forest users or local communities maintain a formal role in management.

Nevertheless, the researchers say that their findings are particularly relevant for small forest patches in human-dominated landscapes, which--when supporting local livelihoods--face the most difficult conservation challenges.

The results of the study challenge some scholarly research that has depicted the conservation of tropical forests and resource use to support livelihoods as mutually exclusive. However, these previous studies tended to focus on either social outcomes or ecological outcomes--not on these two potential outcomes together.

By contrast, this study is the first study to identify which social, ecological and governance factors simultaneously promote biodiversity and forest-based livelihoods. Also, the study, which is based on data from 84 sites in six countries in East Africa and South Asia, is only one of a few studies that identifies factors that may promote biodiversity or forest-based livelihoods across multiple countries, instead of just in specific locations and specific contexts.

"One thing that is clear is that overcoming forest governance challenges is central to maintaining the diverse benefit flows of tropical forest," said Persha. "The effort involved in funding and collecting data on the scale of this research, across so many sites and countries, is substantial--but also vital for generating a more solid evidence base to help decision-makers construct better policies for forest sustainability to meet multiple social and ecological goals."

Team member Arun Agrawal of the University of Michigan added: "Interdisciplinary research requires giving up entrenched disciplinary biases. We are glad to see the most prestigious research journals in the world recognizing the need for such research and making it possible to pursue such work."

"This study illustrates how research on coupled natural-human systems can inform governance policies for land use and resource management that enhance both ecological and economic sustainability," said Alan Tessier, an NSF program director.

"This article builds on research supported by a diverse set of NSF programs," noted Thomas Baerwald, another NSF program director. "And it demonstrates how increased knowledge about the complex interactions between people and the natural environment can help address societally significant problems."

It is vitally important to find ways to conserve tropical forests because over one billion people depend on them for their livelihoods. In addition, tropical forests currently store more than 500 billion tons of carbon--more than all of the carbon that is currently stored in the atmosphere. If these tropical forests were lost, their vast stores of carbon would be released into the atmosphere and potentially impact climate in significant ways.

Lily Whiteman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>