Navigation Links
Surprise! Biodiversity and resource use may co-exist in tropical forests
Date:3/25/2011

Contrary to popular belief, the biodiversity of a tropical forest may be conserved while its resources are used to support local household livelihoods, according to a new study published in the March 25 issue of Science. But biodiversity and resource use are most likely to successfully co-exist in forests that are managed under systems that receive inputs from local forest users or local communities.

These study results imply that one important way for governments to simultaneously promote biodiversity and forest-based livelihoods is to formalize the rights of local people to contribute to rulemakings on the management and use of local forests.

This study, which was partially funded by the National Science Foundation, was conducted by a team led by Lauren Persha of the University of Michigan.

Forest policy decentralization reforms that transfer ownership and management responsibilities to local forest user organizations have already been introduced in more than two-thirds of the developing world. However, this approach's effectiveness has been questioned because of its potential to enable elites to dominate resource use and because of potential weaknesses in links between local decision-makers and larger governing bodies.

But despite such criticism, the Persha team found that forest management inputs from local forest users and communities may promote the growth of forests that are biologically diverse and support local household livelihoods. The researchers attribute the dual success of local inputs to their potential for generating rules that support sustainability and accommodate specific local forest conditions. Such rules thereby help foster forests that support local livelihoods over the long term and so gain legitimacy and relevance.

Study results also indicate that larger tropical forests are more likely to simultaneously support biodiversity and forest-based livelihoods than are smaller tropical forests. But for a given forest size, the probability of achieving such dual success is higher in forests where local forest users or local communities maintain a formal role in management.

Nevertheless, the researchers say that their findings are particularly relevant for small forest patches in human-dominated landscapes, which--when supporting local livelihoods--face the most difficult conservation challenges.

The results of the study challenge some scholarly research that has depicted the conservation of tropical forests and resource use to support livelihoods as mutually exclusive. However, these previous studies tended to focus on either social outcomes or ecological outcomes--not on these two potential outcomes together.

By contrast, this study is the first study to identify which social, ecological and governance factors simultaneously promote biodiversity and forest-based livelihoods. Also, the study, which is based on data from 84 sites in six countries in East Africa and South Asia, is only one of a few studies that identifies factors that may promote biodiversity or forest-based livelihoods across multiple countries, instead of just in specific locations and specific contexts.

"One thing that is clear is that overcoming forest governance challenges is central to maintaining the diverse benefit flows of tropical forest," said Persha. "The effort involved in funding and collecting data on the scale of this research, across so many sites and countries, is substantial--but also vital for generating a more solid evidence base to help decision-makers construct better policies for forest sustainability to meet multiple social and ecological goals."

Team member Arun Agrawal of the University of Michigan added: "Interdisciplinary research requires giving up entrenched disciplinary biases. We are glad to see the most prestigious research journals in the world recognizing the need for such research and making it possible to pursue such work."

"This study illustrates how research on coupled natural-human systems can inform governance policies for land use and resource management that enhance both ecological and economic sustainability," said Alan Tessier, an NSF program director.

"This article builds on research supported by a diverse set of NSF programs," noted Thomas Baerwald, another NSF program director. "And it demonstrates how increased knowledge about the complex interactions between people and the natural environment can help address societally significant problems."

It is vitally important to find ways to conserve tropical forests because over one billion people depend on them for their livelihoods. In addition, tropical forests currently store more than 500 billion tons of carbon--more than all of the carbon that is currently stored in the atmosphere. If these tropical forests were lost, their vast stores of carbon would be released into the atmosphere and potentially impact climate in significant ways.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lily Whiteman
lwhitema@nsf.gov
703-292-8310
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Oklahoma researchers support biodiversity in biofuels production
2. Minnesota ecology professor wins international award for biodiversity and biofuels research
3. Smithsonian perspective: Biodiversity in a warmer world
4. DFG continues to strengthen biodiversity research
5. European biodiversity and ecosystem scientists merge and gear up for long-term research
6. Study confirms amphibians ability to predict changes in biodiversity
7. Marine invasive species advance 50km per decade, World Conference on Marine Biodiversity told
8. Marine invasive species advance 50 km per decade, World Conference on Marine Biodiversity told
9. Networks of small habitat patches can preserve urban biodiversity
10. Alpine rivers hold important clues for preserving biodiversity and coping with climate change
11. The global impact of climate change on biodiversity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Surprise! Biodiversity and resource use may co-exist in tropical forests
(Date:12/6/2016)... Dec. 6, 2016 Valencell , the leading ... has seen a third consecutive year of triple digit ... in 2016 with a 360 percent increase in companies ... increase was driven by sales of its wrist and ... in its technology for hearables for fitness and healthcare ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... India , December 1, 2016 ... Authentication type (Fingerprint, Voice), Future Technology (Iris Recognition ... and Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published ... USD 442.7 Million in 2016, and is projected ... at a CAGR of 14.06%.      ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH llc (higi) ... initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity ... respective audiences for taking steps to live healthier, ... in 2012, higi has built the largest self-screening ... 38 million people who have conducted over 185 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... -- Partnering to fuel Philadelphia,s innovative ... Southeastern Pennsylvania (" Ben Franklin "); ... Blue Cross; and Safeguard Scientifics ("Safeguard") (NYSE: ... million funding initiative over a four year period to ... a burgeoning economic vitality in digital health, Ben ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ACEA Biosciences, ... escalation and expansion clinical trial for its lead drug candidate, AC0010, at the ... the trial was to determine the safety, antitumor activity, and recommended phase II ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... 07, 2016 , ... Huffman Engineering, Inc. , a ... Certified System Integrator Partner. Huffman Engineering is the only Nebraska-based company recognized ... Integrator Partner certification gives customers confidence that our engineers are fully trained and ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... - OncoQuest Inc. ("OncoQuest"), a biopharmaceutical company focused ... for the treatment of cancer, today announced that ... Program with Cytovance Biologics ( Oklahoma City, ... product. Supported by recent positive interim clinical results ... cancer patients, OncoQuest has engaged Cytovance to establish ...
Breaking Biology Technology: