This article was originally published on Phys.org.
“New research published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution demonstrates the extraordinary value of Earth’s remaining intact forests for addressing climate change and protecting wildlife, critical watersheds, indigenous cultures, and human health. Yet the global policy and science communities do not differentiate among the relative values of different types of forest landscapes—which range from highly intact ones to those which are heavily logged, fragmented, burnt, drained and/or over-hunted—due in part to the lack of a uniform way of measuring their quality.
With over 80 percent of forests already degraded by human and industrial activities, today’s findings underscore the immediate need for international policies to secure remaining intact forests—including establishing new protected areas, securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, regulating industry and hunting, and targeting restoration efforts and public finance. Absent specific strategies like these, current global targets addressing climate change, poverty, and biodiversity may fall short, including the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
“As vital carbon sinks and habitats for millions of people and imperilled wildlife, it is well known that forest protection is essential for any environmental solution—yet not all forests are equal,” said Professor James Watson of WCS and the University of Queensland. “Forest conservation must be prioritized based on their relative values—and Earth’s remaining intact forests are the crown jewels, ones that global climate and biodiversity policies must now emphasize.”…”
Read on at: Phys.org.