Tropical forests overexploited by unsustainable logging

by | Jul 15, 2016 | Climate Change, Pollution | 0 comments

Widely hailed as a renewable natural resource, tropical timber from old-growth tropical forests is selectively logged worldwide at an unprecedented scale.

But research from the University of East Anglia reveals that these sources of timber are far from sustainable or entirely environmentally friendly.

A study published in PLOS ONE reveals that once prime tropical hardwoods — such as Brazilian cedars, ipe (Brazilian walnut), and rosewood — have been logged, they do not grow back to commercial levels and are at risk from disappearing altogether.

Lead author Dr Vanessa Richardson, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, said: “Slow growing and commercially valuable species of all kinds have been overexploited over the course of human history — just look at the whaling industry or fisheries.

“Yet many tropical timber species are still thought of as a renewable resource. We are only beginning to see over-exploitation parallels in tree species.

“Our research shows that many high-value timber species are logged until their populations collapse altogether.”

The research team studied 824 forest sites scattered throughout the 124 million hectare Brazilian state of Pará.

They analysed data from legal logging operations that harvested approximately 17.3 million cubic meters of timber across 314 tree species in the state of Pará.

Read full story: Science Daily

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