Front Porch Blog

The return of the forest

A major study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that in vast parts of the world, forests are expanding. In the last 15 years alone, reports the study, 22 of the most forested 50 countries in the world have experienced growth in tree stocks. Specifically, “no nation where annual per capita gross domestic product exceeded $4,600 had a negative rate of growing stock change.” The researchers who conducted the PNAS study added some new variables to the equation that might have resulted in their encouraging results. In addition to measuring total acreage of coverage, they also calculated density, biomass and carbon concentration. The report provides a qualified endorsement for “tree plantations” — the kind of monocultural sources of industrial wood production that many environmentalists and NGOs criticize for their impact on biodiversity and indigenous social structures. According to the report, however, the more plantations you have, the less pressure there is on natural forests. The authors do not directly address how this applies to cases where natural forests are being cut down and replaced by tree farms.

Read the study

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes





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