Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Landscape pattern analysis reveals global loss of interior forest
by Staff Writers
Asheville NC (SPX) Jan 29, 2016

A 2010 aerial photo of land near Hiram, Georgia, overlaid with color represents spatial patterns based on global tree cover data. Tree cover as of 2012 is shown in transparent green; tree cover loss from 2000 to 2012 is shown in transparent blue. Image courtesy of National Agriculture Imagery Program. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Between 2000 and 2012, the world lost more forest area than it gained, according to U.S. Forest Service researchers and partners who estimated a global net loss of 1.71 million square kilometers of forest - an area about two and a half times the size of Texas. Furthermore, when researchers analyzed patterns of remaining forest, they found a global loss of interior forest - core areas that, when intact, maintain critical habitat and ecological functions.

"In addition to the direct loss of forest, there was a widespread shift of the remaining global forest to a more fragmented condition," explains Kurt Riitters, a research ecologist and team leader with the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center and the lead author of a study describing the phenomenon, published in the January 2016 issue of Landscape Ecology.

Forest area loss alone underestimates ecological risks from forest fragmentation. The spatial pattern of forest is important because the same area of forest can be arranged in different ways on the landscape with important consequences for ecosystem processes. In contrast to core areas of interior forest, non-interior forest edge areas are subject to impacts from invasive species, pollution, and variation in soil moisture, for example.

To understand where interior forest has been lost and therefore where risks from forest fragmentation might be greatest, the researchers used global tree cover data to map the forests of 2000 and 2012 and examined the patterns of change across ecological regions and biomes.

Their analysis revealed a net loss of 3.76 million square kilometers of interior forest area, or about ten percent of interior forest - more than twice the global net loss of forest area. The rate at which interior forest area was lost was more than three times the rate of global forest area loss.

All forest biomes experienced a net loss of interior forest area during the study period. Across the globe, temperate coniferous forests experienced the largest percentage of loss, tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests lost the most area of interior forest, and boreal forests and taiga lost interior forest at the highest rate.

Researchers note that the reasons for losses, and therefore the consequences, depend on local circumstances. Human activities and land use changes that result in permanent deforestation have a much greater impact than temporary deforestation from natural disturbances, such as a fire.

Monitoring remains an important tool to provide early warnings of forests at risk of reaching a tipping point, and the results of this study can inform and focus conservation and management decisions in areas of concern. "As forest area is lost and the remainder becomes more fragmented, the remaining forest may no longer function as interior forest," explains Riitters. "Sustaining forest interior is arguably as important as sustaining forest itself."

The study's coauthors include James Wickham, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Jennifer Costanza, North Carolina State University/Eastern Threat Center; and Peter Vogt, European Commission Joint Research Centre.


Related Links
USDA Forest Service - Southern Research Station
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Over-hunting threatens Amazonian forest carbon stocks
Norwich UK (SPX) Jan 26, 2016
Over-hunting of large mammals in tropical forests could make climate change worse according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Tropical forests worldwide store more than 460 billion tonnes of carbon. The Amazon is the largest and most species-rich tropical forest on Earth. Researchers studied the large-scale impact of wildlife extinctions induced by over-hunting on c ... read more

Ten El Faro families settle with owners of sunken US ship

China pushes inferno documentary into purgatory

Charities warn of 'desperate' plight of refugees in snow

Nepal quake rebuilding to take years, new chief says

Acoustic tweezers provide much needed pluck for 3-D bioprinting

Designing a pop-up future

Chanel swaps bling for eco-inspired haute couture

Material may offer cheaper alternative to smart windows

Replace corroded lead pipes in Flint, lawsuit demands

Climate change: Ocean warming underestimated

Pressure building on global water supply

An abundance of viruses that infect ocean microorganisms

New gravity dataset will help unveil the Antarctic continent

Melting Greenland ice sheet may affect global ocean circulation, future climate

Mounting evidence suggests early agriculture staved off global cooling

Ancient underwater volcanoes may have ended 'Snowball Earth'

Molecular method promises to speed development of food crops

Global nitrogen footprint mapped for first time

Seagrass genome sequence lends insights to salt tolerance

Earthworms could be a threat to biodiversity

Shallow earthquakes and deeper tremors along southern San Andreas fault

Alaska hit by 6.8-magnitude earthquake: USGS

Warmer Oceans Could Produce More Powerful Superstorms

More than 1,200 flee as Indonesia volcano spews ash, gas

Burkina arrests 11 failed coup soldiers after arms depot raid

Horn of Africa port Djibouti signs China trade deals

UN reduces size of peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast

Several dead as Shebab storm African Union base in Somalia

Chinese scientists create 'autistic' monkeys

The indications of a new geological epoch marked by human impact are clear

Why are habits so hard to break

Evidence of a prehistoric massacre extends the history of warfare

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.