mongabay: Tropical forest fragmentation nearing ‘critical point,’ study finds

 

 

  • In addition to having severe repercussions for animals like jaguars and tigers that require vast tracts of connected habitat, forest fragmentation has a big carbon footprint.
  • A new physics-based study finds fragmentation of tropical forests may be reaching a threshold past which fragmentation will shoot up sharply. At this threshold, even a relatively small amount of deforestation could lead to dramatic fragmentation – and significant habitat loss and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The team calculated that at current deforestation rates, the number of fragments will increase 33-fold in Central and South America by 2050, and their average size will drop from 17 hectares to 0.25 hectares.

 

 

Deforestation in the tropics is caused by many different human activities that vary in intensity depending on location. In South America, industrial agriculture is the big driver of deforestation while smallholder farming is pockmarking Congo rainforest and logging for high-value timber species is having devastating effects on the forests of mainland Southeast Asia.

 

 

Yet, despite the diversity of these activities, a new study published this week in Nature shows they have had a surprisingly similar overall impact on the world’s tropical forests – an impact that appears to be reaching a “critical point” past which the consequences may be catastrophic.

 

 

The issue here is fragmentation. As humans move in and cut down trees, remaining forest is fragmented into smaller and smaller chunks that are increasingly farther away from each other. In addition to having severe repercussions for animals like jaguars and tigers that require vast tracts of connected habitat, forest fragmentation has a big carbon footprint.

 

 

Research published in 2017 revealed that the world’s tropical forests are currently cut up into around 50 million fragments, and their edges add up to about 50 million kilometers – which put together would make it about a third of the way from Earth to the sun. The study found trees at these fragment edges are much more likely to die than those in the middle of forests, potentially adding 31 percent more greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

 

 

But what is the overall impact of these fragments, and what will they look like in the future? To find out, researchers at Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) used physics to mathematically describe the fragmentation of tropical forests on a global scale. The team identified fragments via high-resolution satellite data that detects gaps in tree canopies and found fragmentation patterns in the world’s thee main rainforest regions – Africa, Southeast Asia and South/Central America – fit physic’s “percolation theory.”

 

 

“[Percolation theory] states that in a certain phase of deforestation the forest landscape exhibits fractal, self-similar structures, i.e. structures that can be found again and again on different levels,” said biophysicist Andreas Huth, a coauthor of the study.

 

 

Read more...

Go back

CBFP News

Linking local people's perception of wildlife and conservation to livelihood and poaching alleviation: A case study of the Dja biosphere reserve, Cameroon

This Paper examines how people's livelihoods and perceptions of wildlife are related to self-reported poaching(here defined as commercial bushmeat hunting) in 25 villages at the northern buffer zone of the Dja Biosphere Reserve, East Cameroon. Using a six-point Likert scale questionnaire among 263 households interviewed form March to June 2017, the following hypothesis were tested: (1) Households with positive perceptions of wildlife are less involved in poaching; (2) Positive perceptions of wildlife are linked to sustainable livelihood improvement of households; and (3) Sustainable livelihood improvement of households leads to poaching alleviation.

Read more …

Forest Watch May 2019: Will global deforestation finally be on the agenda at the EU elections?

To read: Global deforestation becoming one of the top issues in the European elections ; Commission presidency candidate says he would tackle human rights abuses in EU imports; Huge illegal forest trade deal in Democratic Republic of Congo: urgent EU action is required; Funders must rethink the false agro-industrial park solution...

Read more …

China in Cameroon’s forests: A review of issues and progress for livelihoods and sustainability

This report introduces the nature and scale of the issues involved, and how the China- Africa Forest Governance Project has engaged with them. It analyses the impact of Chinese-linked investments and companies on forests and livelihoods in the forest and non-forest sectors – agro-industries, mining and infrastructure. The report describes the efforts made through the project to improve policy and practice in China-Cameroon forest issues and outlines some ways forward.

Read more …

China to host World Environment Day 2019 on air pollution

Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. World Environment Day 2019 will urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world.

Read more …

iucncongress2020-Host a session during the Forum

Organisations and individuals can propose hosting a session during the Forum of the IUCN World Conservation Congress. Hosting a session is an excellent opportunity to inform debate and drive conservation action on the issues that matter most to you or your organisation. The call for proposals will be open from 6 May to 17 July 2019.

Read more …

EU Communication (2019) on Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation

On 14 December, the European Commission published a Roadmap on the EU initiative on Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The Roadmap sets out the context and objectives of the initiative and the foreseen consultation, and was open for feedback until 15 January 2019 via this page....

Read more …

Summary of the Public Consultation Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation

The public  consultation  was  open  from 14 January  2019until 25 February  2019.  It  received  955 responses,  including  97  attachments.This summary  report presents the headline  results  from  the public consultation, under each section of the survey questionnaire.

Read more …

IISD- 2019 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Work continued apace on Thursday at the 2019 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions. On the penultimate day of the meetings, delegates convened in plenary in the morning to look into issues of joint concern, as well as work related to the Rotterdam Convention (RC).

Read more …

CBFP News Archive

2019

Forest Watch April 2019
Forest Watch March 2019