• Is It Possible to Future-Proof Forests?

Is It Possible to Future-Proof Forests?

Apr 10 2019 Read 408 Times

An estimated 18 million acres of forest are a lost every year, with a whopping 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions coming from deforestation. While forests are vital for our survival, little seems to be done to protect these environments, with logging and harvesting timber being some of the main culprits.

With this in mind, we need to consider whether we are doing enough to save the forest and its inhabitants for future generations? In this post, we look at a potential solution when it comes to future-proofing forests

Save the animals

Forests worldwide are threatened by climate change, logging, fires and mining. Not only does this affect the land, it also impacts the animals inhabiting the terrain.

One example is the orangutan, with more than 100,000 killed in Borneo since 1999. If deforestation is set to continue, without any intervention, it could kill another 45,000 orangutans over the next 35 years.

The big question is whether there is a way to prevent deforestation and actually ‘future-proof’ forests around the world…

Studying the rainforest

A recent study may have found a promising solution. The survey examined 250 plants in Indonesia’s Kutai National Park, which is home to 80 mammals and 300 birds – including the endangered apes.

According to the co-author of the study, Douglas Sheil, the research shows how selecting certain species of trees will have “a significant contribution to restoring the health of this ecosystem."

Resilient trees

It was discovered that specific trees are resilient to climate change and can support the ape’s habitat.

This is supported by the International Union for Conservation Nature, who agreed that planting trees resilient to climate change is key to future proofing rainforests.

The two tree species found to help are the native palm tree, the Bendang and the hardwood tree, the Ulin. These are recommended due to their resilience to fire, so can be planted as buffers in fire prone zones.

Other plants said to be climate resilient, whilst being key food sources, are the tropical canopy tree, Dracontomelon dao and the tropical evergreen, Kleinhovia hospital.

The study recommends that alongside vines the apes use for moving through the forest, these trees should be planted to help build a sustainable and future-proofed habitat.

Environmental concerns

Deforestation isn’t the only environmental concern we’re facing - with water pollution also among the top culprits. Fortunately, this is another area where research is looking to the future. WWEM 2018 was hailed as a major success, with organisers describing the event as a glimpse into the future of the water sector.

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