Old-Growth Rainforests Vital to Conserve Tropical Biodiversity

21 September, 2011 at 08:36 | Posted in Environmental issues, Nature, Science | Leave a comment
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By Ginger Chan
Epoch Times Staff

A re-modeled home might not always be better than the original. For many of the world’s tropical fauna and flora, home re-landscaping has in fact proven to be quite deleterious.

An international collaboration of researchers compiled data from over 100 studies comparing the biodiversity of primary forests (forests subjected to little or no human disturbance) with that of forests that are regenerating following degradation by agriculture, logging, and other human activities.

Their conclusion: forest degradation is detrimental to biodiversity.

“Some scientists have recently argued that degraded tropical forests support high levels of biodiversity,” said study lead-author Luke Gibson, researcher at the National University of Singapore, in a press release.

“Our study demonstrates that this is rarely the case.”

Worldwide, few primary forests remain unaltered by humans. In particular, Southeast Asia has suffered the highest rates of deforestation and the greatest loss in biodiversity as a result of population growth, and the change of land-use to favor plantations of oil palms and exotic plants.

“Southeast Asia emerged as a conservation hotspot and must be one of our top priority regions,” said study co-author Tien Ming Lee from the University of California, San Diego in the release.

Read more: Old-Growth Rainforests Vital to Conserve Tropical Biodiversity | Science | Epoch Times

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