Forests face fierce threats from multiple industries, not just agricultural expansion – ScienceDaily

Intact forests are important climate regulators and harbors of biodiversity, but they are disappearing fast. Agriculture is generally considered the main cause of forest loss, but the authors of a new paper published January 20 in the journal one land It shows that agriculture is not solely responsible. For the 2014 global economy-related forest loss, more than 60% was related to the final consumption of non-agricultural products, such as minerals, metals, and wood-related commodities, and the authors argue that we should consider international trade markets when designing conservation strategies. .

“Regional land-use change is no longer only driven by domestic demand; it is also indirectly influenced by international markets and the growing consumption of land-based products,” say the authors, led by Ben Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at Fudan University. “Countries with forest conservation goals can import ready-made wild products through global supply chains, displacing land-use pressure and related green and environmental impacts outside their territory borders.”

Researchers used multi-source geographic information data and economic modeling to assess the direct and indirect causes of forest landscape loss. Healthy forests support more diverse species, are more resistant to natural disturbances such as wildfires, and, in Africa and South America, can store more than three times as much carbon per hectare as disturbed or managed forests.

Previous studies focused on deforestation — the complete removal of tree cover — but focusing on intact forests instead allowed the authors to shed light on the pernicious roles that degradation and fragmentation play.

“Even clearing of narrow areas of forest can affect the overall structure and composition of forests,” the authors say. “Given the exceptional conservation value of intact forest landscapes in terms of stabilizing terrestrial carbon stocks and harboring biodiversity, displacement of intact forest landscapes could also reflect potential indirect driving forces behind carbon emissions and biodiversity loss.”

“Beef production is widely believed to lead to deforestation in the Amazon, but it is difficult for consumers to realize that highly processed equipment production may include timber and minerals produced at the expense of healthy forests and that services provided by third sectors may be powered by electricity generated from oil and gas. associated with this loss. “The more dispersed nature of the sound drivers of forest loss and its indirect linkages with individual end consumers requires stronger government involvement and supply chain interventions.”

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