Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UF study finds logging of tropical forests needn’t devastate environment

11.05.2012
Harvesting tropical forests for timber may not be the arch-enemy of conservation that it was once assumed to be, according to a new study led by a University of Florida researcher.

Selective logging may be one of the few feasible options left for conserving tropical forests given the huge financial incentives pushing tropical landholders to convert primary forests into cash-generating agricultural plantations.

The report analyzed data from more than 100 studies of tropical forests on three continents that had been harvested for timber. Results suggest that while biodiversity and carbon retention take a hit from selective logging, the losses are survivable and reversible to a degree if the forest is given adequate time to recover. The study appears in the online version of the journal Conservation Letters.

That’s not the case when forests are converted to rubber or palm oil plantations, said the study’s lead author, Jack Putz, a UF professor of biology. Once a forest is gone, it is hard to get it back in any semblance of its former glory.

“We aren’t advocates for logging,” he said. “We’re just acknowledging that it is a reality — and that within that reality, there is a way forward.”

The study found that on average, 85 to 100 percent of the animal and plant species diversity present before an initial harvest remained after the forests were selectively logged. Forests also retained 76 percent of their carbon after an initial harvest.
The authors concede that the reports they analyzed could be overly optimistic portrayals of forest health. They nevertheless maintain that even moderately well-managed forests provide valuable benefits, and that badly managed forests can recover many of their most valuable attributes over time.

The continued existence of indigenous people culturally bound to these forests depends on forest survival, Putz said. Other people benefit from the eco-services that forests provide like soil erosion control, carbon sequestration and habitat for wildlife.

The problem, he said, is that there are powerful economic forces driving developing nations to convert their forests to cash crops and cattle ranches. A forest sustainably managed for timber and biodiversity might earn $2,000 per acre every 20 to 30 years. In contrast, a palm oil plantation can bring in the same amount in less than a year.
But there are ways to tip the balance sheet in favor of conservation, according to the study.

Programs that root out illegal logging operations protect forests by raising the price of legitimately harvested timber, he said. And that makes sustainable logging a more economically viable option for cash-strapped nations. The study also suggests that climate change mitigation programs designed to prevent logging could be modified to include support for environmentally sustainable timber management plans.

Many conservation biologists and ecologists in developed countries north of the equator seem reluctant to get behind these policies in a public way, he said. A chronic lack of oversight has made programs that allow for selective logging a risky ecological proposition in the past. That makes people involved in conservation hesitant to be seen as aligning themselves with timber harvest in any capacity.

But logging is going to happen anyway, Putz said. “Conservationists should be working to make sure it is carried out in the most environmentally and socially responsible ways possible,” he said.

Credits
WriterDonna Hesterman, donna.hesterman@ufl.edu, 352-846-2573SourceJack Putz, fep@ufl.edu, 352-392-1486

Jack Putz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>