Tropical arks reach tipping point
Almost half of the tropical forest reserves in a new study are ineffective, according to results published in the journal Nature by William Laurance, research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute now at James Cook University in Australia and more than 200 co-authors.
"Biodiversity is declining rapidly at reserves including Kahuzi Biega in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Xishuangbanna in southern China, and Northern Sierra Madre in the Philippines, among others," said Laurance. "Reserves that are doing relatively well include Bwindi Impenetrable N.P. in Uganda, Santa Rosa in Costa Rica, and Los Amigos in Peru."
Laurance asked experts who study plant and animal life across the Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific to rate the effectiveness of the reserves where they have worked over the last two to three decades. Smithsonian coauthors include STRI staff scientist Joe Wright, and John Kress, Mercedes Foster and Louise Emmons at the National Museum of Natural History. They rated reserve health based on changes in abundance of 31 different groups from trees to primates.
"Reserves are like arks for biodiversity," said Laurance, "But some are in danger of sinking."
Even well-protected reserves mirror changes in surrounding landscapes. On the Smithsonian's Barro Colorado Island research station in Panama researchers recorded slight increases in exotic animals and plants.
Reserves suffering the most were those were encroached upon by illegal colonists, hunters and loggers. The bottom line, researchers say, is that we need to do a better job of protecting protected areas.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panama City, Panama, is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Institute furthers the understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. Website: www.stri.si.edu.
Reference: Laurance, William F., and 215 coauthors. 2012. Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical forest protected areas. Nature, DOI:10.1038/nature11318. Published online on 26 July 2012.
Beth King | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...