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Primary forests-the action and the policy

By Dave Armstrong - 19 Aug 2014 5:55:9 GMT
Primary forests-the action and the policy

The area of intact forest landscape (IFL) in the main climatic zones of Köppen-Geiger. Major countries holding our essential primary forest resource are shown in this detailed map. However, as we point out, almost every nation has a piece of forest and the smaller it is the more precious it should be for the people who want it; World forest image; Credit: © Onlinelibrary Wiley

We just published a story on how forests will be decimated by global warming. Now we have to harp on about the whole-world political view of the ultra-important and famously biodiverse primary forests. Only 22% of the small area remaining is located within IUCN protected areas, and many of those are barely protected at all.

The journal, Conservation Letters, through 11 esteemed academics headed by Brendan Mackey is the source. Brendan of the Climate Change Response Program at Queensland's Griffith University heads up the forest ecologists, international policy experts and conservation expertise of the paper. It can be fully explored in - Conservation Letters.

Various land uses can easily take away primary forest and its intricate ecologies, with development happening before anybody notices. Indonesia, or the Amazon, Australia or Europe, it is happening as we speak. However, 57% of all tropical forest species need the primary forest intact Only 25, developed and developing, nations are involved in conserving that precious forest, although the countries possessing tiny amounts of primary forest should be even more keen to preserve their own small piece of conservation history!

All of the authors agree that 4 of their concerns should immediately lead to action on every nation's primary forest conservation.

First, the global nature of wildlife concern makes this an international concern, not that of individual countries. The admirable cooperation between Uganda and DRC on their precious highland forests on which their mutual border lies is a great example of the need for involvement across all borders, not just one or two.

Secondly, the accounting of the ecosystem services provided by primary forests is not simply the adding up of tourist dollars for special sites. The whole picture includes freshwater and watershed services, and definitions of the primary forests and their roles in providing economic gain to all. The lack of provision for local peoples has been highlighted again and again, not least in the Amazonian tribes, where lives have been lost protecting the rights of the people.

The third, political, action should be to prohibit any further loss of biodiversity or carbon emissions from the forest (as it is cut down) and degradation of the area. We have to remember that 95% of the original forests are now down or degraded!

Fourth and last. Primary forest conservation can be forged with indigenous and community conserved areas leading the way. We need multilateral international agreements in order to provide a livelihood for the forest-dwellers in our protected areas. In every continent, we need people on the ground and the required experts are usually those who are born there, whether they are German, Ashanti, Shan people or Yanomami from the high Orinoco.