Thursday, December 13, 2012

Indigenous biodiversity 'crucial' to forest futures

Talent Ng'andwe in Forestry experts are calling for an increase in the use of native tree species in reforestation projects, arguing that they are better for biodiversity and can slow the pace of global warming.

The recommendation appears in a report published by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) that was presented during the UN climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, earlier this month (2 December).

It was written by 60 leading forestry experts, who assert that forests are more than just carbon warehouses: they also shelter most of the world's plant and animal species, and supply impoverished communities with food, fuel and as much as 59 per cent of their incomes.

John Parrotta, an international forest-science policy analyst with the US Forest Service and chair of the committee that prepared the report, says that deforestation and forest degradation must be checked to boost biodiversity and help remove carbon from the atmosphere.

He explains that, although it is costly, tree planting may be necessary for reforestation in certain places and should be targeted at areas where the restoration of forest cover will yield multiple benefits for communities. These include improved water quality, soil erosion control, crop pollination services and the provision of timber and non-timber products....

From 1867: Ulysses S. Grant, 71 Feet in Circumference, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, No. 87. Albumen silver print, 51.6 x 39.7 cm. The seated individual is Eadweard Muybridge. Shot by Carleton Watkins

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