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      Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimize carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits

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          Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity.

          Human-driven land-use changes increasingly threaten biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where both species diversity and human pressures on natural environments are high. The rapid conversion of tropical forests for agriculture, timber production and other uses has generated vast, human-dominated landscapes with potentially dire consequences for tropical biodiversity. Today, few truly undisturbed tropical forests exist, whereas those degraded by repeated logging and fires, as well as secondary and plantation forests, are rapidly expanding. Here we provide a global assessment of the impact of disturbance and land conversion on biodiversity in tropical forests using a meta-analysis of 138 studies. We analysed 2,220 pairwise comparisons of biodiversity values in primary forests (with little or no human disturbance) and disturbed forests. We found that biodiversity values were substantially lower in degraded forests, but that this varied considerably by geographic region, taxonomic group, ecological metric and disturbance type. Even after partly accounting for confounding colonization and succession effects due to the composition of surrounding habitats, isolation and time since disturbance, we find that most forms of forest degradation have an overwhelmingly detrimental effect on tropical biodiversity. Our results clearly indicate that when it comes to maintaining tropical biodiversity, there is no substitute for primary forests.
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            Enchantment and Disenchantment: The Role of Community in Natural Resource Conservation

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              Old-growth forests as global carbon sinks.

              Old-growth forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at rates that vary with climate and nitrogen deposition. The sequestered carbon dioxide is stored in live woody tissues and slowly decomposing organic matter in litter and soil. Old-growth forests therefore serve as a global carbon dioxide sink, but they are not protected by international treaties, because it is generally thought that ageing forests cease to accumulate carbon. Here we report a search of literature and databases for forest carbon-flux estimates. We find that in forests between 15 and 800 years of age, net ecosystem productivity (the net carbon balance of the forest including soils) is usually positive. Our results demonstrate that old-growth forests can continue to accumulate carbon, contrary to the long-standing view that they are carbon neutral. Over 30 per cent of the global forest area is unmanaged primary forest, and this area contains the remaining old-growth forests. Half of the primary forests (6 x 10(8) hectares) are located in the boreal and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. On the basis of our analysis, these forests alone sequester about 1.3 +/- 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon per year. Thus, our findings suggest that 15 per cent of the global forest area, which is currently not considered when offsetting increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, provides at least 10 per cent of the global net ecosystem productivity. Old-growth forests accumulate carbon for centuries and contain large quantities of it. We expect, however, that much of this carbon, even soil carbon, will move back to the atmosphere if these forests are disturbed.
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                Journal
                Global Change Biology
                Glob Change Biol
                Wiley
                1354-1013
                1365-2486
                January 25 2021
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Richmond UK
                [2 ]Wildlife Landscapes Maidstone UK
                [3 ]Autism and Nature Maidstone UK
                [4 ]Department of Forest Sciences, “Luiz de Queiroz” College of Agriculture University of São Paulo Piracicaba SP Brazil
                [5 ]School of Biological Sciences University of Aberdeen Aberdeen UK
                [6 ]World Agroforestry Centre Nairobi Kenya
                [7 ]Australian Research Council Centre for Mine Site Restoration School of Molecular and Life Sciences Curtin University Perth WA Australia
                [8 ]Missouri Botanical Garden St Louis MO USA
                [9 ]Forest Restoration Research Unit and Environmental Science Research Centre Biology Department Faculty of Science Chiang Mai University Chiang Mai Thailand
                [10 ]Tooro Botanical Gardens Fort Portal Uganda
                [11 ]Botanic Gardens Conservation International Richmond UK
                [12 ]Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre University of Gothenburg Gothenburg Sweden
                [13 ]Department of Plant Sciences University of Oxford Oxford UK
                Article
                10.1111/gcb.15498
                © 2021

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