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
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences