Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Researchers test sustainable forestry policies in tropics
by Staff Writers
Hanover NH (SPX) Dec 22, 2015

Jodi Brandt, a former postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth College and now an assistant professor at Boise State University, and her colleagues show that policies aimed at protecting tropical forests in the Congo Basin may unexpectedly lead to increased deforestation and timber production. Image courtesy Jodi Brandt. For a larger version of this image please go here.

New research by a Dartmouth scientist and her colleagues shows that policies aimed at protecting tropical forests in the Congo Basin may unexpectedly lead to increased deforestation and timber production.

The findings link tropical deforestation - in the Congo Basin and globally - with rising international demand for timber, foreign investment and other factors, and contradict the goal of collaborative efforts by governments, environmentalists and corporations to adopt sustainable forest management since the 1992 Rio Summit.

The two studies found that the problem isn't clear-cutting by illegal operators but primarily "indirect deforestation." Such causes include legal logging roads built by timber companies - in compliance with sustainable forestry policies - that require highly-selective logging.

The research suggests that selective logging has a negative consequence of spreading out logging activities over larger areas and into interior forests. The researchers also found evidence that human settlements grow more where there are legal timber operations, leading to an increased human presence in these remote, interior forest regions.

The new study appears in the journal Land Use Policy. It follows a study published last year in the journal Environmental Research Letters. PDFs are available on request.

"The global conservation community has invested tremendous resources in sustainable forest management principles and has supported policy changes in its favor," says lead author Jodi Brandt, a former postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth College and now an assistant professor at Boise State University.

"But our results suggest caution and highlight a need for more rigorous and systematic scrutiny of commercial logging practices and sustainable forestry policies in tropical forest ecosystems worldwide. Human activities often have unintended consequences, so we need to regularly assess, in an unbiased manner, the impacts of our activities and policies. We hope these papers stimulate a conversation and more research about the sustainability of industrial logging not just in the Congo but in other tropical forests around the globe."

About one billion acres of tropical forests worldwide are managed for timber production, making up more than half of the world's remaining tropical forests. A growing proportion of these forests are managed under sustainable policies meant to reduce deforestation, promote biodiversity and improve incomes, but little is known about how these policies influence forest conservation.

In the Congo, Brandt and her colleagues analyzed deforestation patterns from satellite imagery and the forestry management practices of European, Asian and Congolese logging companies and their compliance with the Congo's sustainable forestry law during the 10 years after it passed in 2000.

In the first study, the researchers found that European companies had the highest core and edge deforestation rates despite being far more compliant with the sustainable forestry policies, which suggests the policies were behind the deforestation.

In the latest study, the researchers investigated that possibility by measuring timber production and deforestation in leases that implemented the sustainable policies compared to those that did not. They found that timber production was higher, and more stable, in compliant leases versus non-compliant leases. Additionally, deforestation rates were up to two times higher in the compliant leases than in the non-compliant ones.

Forest management plans, which are detailed plans for selective logging in certain areas for a specific time, are designed to allow harvestable trees time to mature before the next logging cycle. The concept of sustainable forestry was conceived in Germany in the 1700s in response to a severe timber scarcity.

The forest management plan framework was subsequently developed as a means to ensure long-term timber stocks. Since the early 19th century, forest management plans have been attempted in tropical forests and now are used in 46 percent of tropical production forests worldwide. The plans are considered a key tool for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation because they are expected to limit deforestation and forest degradation.

The impact of forest management plans assumes a greater global importance in the Congo Basin, which holds the second-largest intact tropical forests in the world and represents 25 percent of the carbon stored in tropical forests worldwide. It also is the last core habitat for a number of endangered wildlife species, including the western lowland gorilla, forest elephant and bonobo.

In the 1990s, logging expanded throughout the Congo Basin with disastrous impacts for wildlife. In an effort to achieve both forest conservation and economic development, Congo Basin countries implemented a unified "conservation landscape" approach, which includes protected areas surrounded by logging leases operating under sustainable forest management principles.

Research study: "Deforestation and timber production in Congo after implementation of sustainable forest management policy"

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Dartmouth College
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
Climate stress forces trees to hunker down or press on
Seattle WA (SPX) Dec 16, 2015
In the face of adverse conditions, people might feel tempted by two radically different options - hunker down and wait for conditions to improve, or press on and hope for the best. It would seem that trees employ similar options when the climate turns dry and hot. Two University of Washington researchers have uncovered details of the radically divergent strategies that two common tree spec ... read more

China landslide leaves 59 missing, sparks gas explosion: Xinhua

Senegalese migrant with thirst for improving lives

Nepal passes long-delayed bill on quake rebuilding

America's penchant for guns stronger than ever after attacks

Turning rice farming waste into useful silica compounds

Hybrid material presents potential for 4-D-printed adaptive devices

The artificial materials that came in from the cold

Physics of slow microscopic changes in magnetic structures revealed

Growth potential remains at risk on even the most remote coral reefs

Researchers find what makes 'black market' water vendors work more reliably and fairly

Light pollution a threat to annual coral spawning

Costa Rica boasts 99% renewable energy in 2015

Two killed, several injured in Norway Arctic avalanche

Ancient 4-flippered reptile flapped like a penguin

North Slope permafrost thawing sooner than expected

Warmer air and sea, declining ice continue to trigger Arctic change

Red palm weevils can fly 50 kilometers in 24 hours

Plants use a molecular clock to predict when they'll be infected

Millet: The missing link in transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer

Plasticulture system offers alternative for cabbage producers

Death toll rises to 45 in storm-hit Philippines

New storm approaches Philippines after typhoon kills 20

Flood rescues as Philippine typhoon death toll climbs to 11

Typhoon kills 4 in Philippines, cuts power ahead of Christmas

Tanzania jails 4 Chinese for 20 yrs for smuggling rhino horns

Jihadist fears spark travel warning at Burkina nature park

Nigeria commutes troops' death sentences for refusing to face Boko Haram

Liberia arrests suspects in deadly Ivory Coast attacks

Scientists say face mites evolved alongside humans

Chitchat and small talk could serve an evolutionary need to bond with others

Humans evolved to get better sleep in less time

Research differentiates facial growth in Neanderthals and modern humans

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 1995-2017 - 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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