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Grading conservation: Which reserves defend forests?

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Grading conservation: Which reserves defend forests? Empty Grading conservation: Which reserves defend forests?

Post by Guest on Thu May 09, 2019 10:56 am

Lands that shelter forests have value often readily tallied by developers, but until now it's been more difficult to prove the success of protecting those forested lands in pursuit of sustainability. That can put conservationists on the defense.

A group of scientists from Michigan State University (MSU) have focused on what makes a protected area the most effective at preventing deforestation. Preserving forests means more trees to suck up greenhouse gasses, as well as prevent erosion, mitigate flooding, purify water and quell sandstorms.

The stakes are high since protected areas cover about 15 percent of the world's surface.

"Bringing valuable expanses of forests under protection is a crucial tool to achieve sustainability," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, MSU Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS). "But protecting forests demands evidence that it works, that indeed deforestation is slowed or reversed, and that efforts are being directed in the right places."

The group evaluated the effectiveness of China's 472 protected areas in reducing deforestation from 2000 to 2015. The study, reported in this month's journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, concluded that had not the reserves been established, the protected area's deforested parts would have been 50 percent larger.

The estimated amount of carbon sequestered by those forests that avoided deforestation within protected areas was about 1,271 megatons per year. A tree can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old, according to North Carolina State University.


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