Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

World's Forests Rebounding, Study Suggests
National Geographic Society ^ | 11-13-2006 | James Owens

Posted on 11/14/2006 5:34:27 PM PST by blam

World's Forests Rebounding, Study Suggests

James Owen
for National Geographic News

November 13, 2006

Forests are branching out across the planet anew, raising hopes that an end to deforestation may be in sight, a new study claims.

The study suggests that deforestation is not as drastic as it once was and that forests are recovering in many countries.

The researchers say that over the past 15 years the amount of woodland has increased in 22 of the world's 50 most forested nations.

China and the U.S. have achieved the greatest overall forest expansion, the team says, while tree cover has spread fastest in China, Vietnam, and Spain.

Asia as a whole is shown to have gained 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of forest between 2000 and 2005.

"Earth has suffered an epidemic of deforestation," said co-researcher Jesse Ausubel, from Rockefeller University in New York City.

"Now humans may help spread an epidemic of forest restoration."

Ausubel said the trend identified in the study could "stop the styling of a skinhead Earth" and lead to a 10 percent increase in global forest cover—an area the size of India—by 2050.

The team reports its findings this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Forest Density

This encouraging picture of global forest growth comes from an international research team that studied data from a 2005 forest-resources assessment by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The team advocates "a more sophisticated approach" to measuring forest cover. This approach takes into account tree density as well as overall tree cover to reveal a country's total forest resources, the team says.

In Japan, for instance, tree cover is shown to be virtually unchanged since World War II, but tree density has risen, producing an average annual 1.6 percent increase in forest biomass.

Lead author Pekka Kauppi of the University of Helsinki, Finland, admits that the study does not distinguish between planted, homogenous tree stands and biologically richer old-growth forests.

However, he says, much of the recorded increase involves both natural regeneration and the effects of reforestation programs, particularly in developing nations.

The study notes, for example, that tropical forest in El Salvador expanded more than 20 percent between 1992 and 2001.

Reforestation efforts in China have contributed to a 116-million-acre (47-million-hectare) increase in forest area since the 1970s, the study adds.

Increased human migration from rural to urban areas and higher agricultural yields may also have aided regeneration, the authors say.

Similar factors may have helped in India, where forest cover was found to have increased since 1990.

The team says forest trends in these and other developing countries may be mirroring those seen in the past in industrialized Western nations.

In the U.S., for instance, forests in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois have expanded by half since the 19th century.

(See a photo gallery of forests around the United States.)

The authors say factors behind reforestation in North America and Europe range from increased conservation and farming productivity to a decline in newsprint demand following the rise of electronic media.

Whether the transition from deforestation to forest expansion becomes a truly global phenomenon will depend largely on Brazil and Indonesia, where huge areas of tropical forest are still being cleared, Kauppi says.

Indonesia has recorded a 6 percent annual loss in forest biomass between 1990 and 2005.

"But if China and India can do it, why not Brazil and Indonesia?" Kauppi said.

(Read related story: "Indigenous Lands Help Protect Amazon Forests, Study Finds" [February 28, 2006].)

Carbon Sink

Kauppi also points out that forests act as important carbon sinks, tying up carbon that would otherwise appear in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

He says global forest growth between 1990 and 2000 provided some 0.3 to 0.5 billion tons of extra carbon storage.

"For comparison, that's more than the carbon emissions of Germany," he said.

But conservation groups say the study's findings are overly optimistic.

Mark Aldrich of WWF International's Forests for Life Program says increased wood production from tree plantations may reduce pressures on natural forests.

But he adds that the authors' suggestion that the "end of deforestation is in view" is not supported by other evidence.

Aldrich says the same FAO report on which the new study is based found that 32 million acres (13 million hectares) of forest is lost annually.

"Whilst these losses are countered by an increase in forest growing stock in some countries, these forests do not have the same composition or provide the same variety of functions as natural forests," he said.

Aldrich adds that the European Environment Agency has reported that while the net area of forests in Europe is increasing, the level of biodiversity has shown a dramatic decline.

And where deforestation is fueled by agricultural expansion, such as in Brazil, Aldrich said, "there are few signs of this slowing given the huge and growing demand across the globe for products from palm oil and soy."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: forests; nature; rebounding; world

1 posted on 11/14/2006 5:34:30 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: blam

Another benefit of the Democratic takeover in congress. Wow, they work fast.


2 posted on 11/14/2006 5:35:25 PM PST by Cementjungle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
See now that the elections are over and the libbies
are in, suddenly all is right with the world again....JJ61
3 posted on 11/14/2006 5:37:42 PM PST by JerseyJohn61 (Better Late Than Never.......sometimes over lapping is worth the effort....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
Trees are a renewable resource. Cut the big ones down and plant little ones so that it can be done again some day. A "thick forest" isn't any good to anyone until it's made "less thick". Simply saving trees for the sake of saving trees is idiotic.
4 posted on 11/14/2006 5:38:00 PM PST by Jaysun (Let's not ruin this moment with words.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cementjungle

Interesting. Yesterday that guy said the world's oil reserves are three times what they thought. Today the forrests are back. Tomorrow global warmning will be debunked.

The stock market is rolling up, economy is great, unemployment way down.

The dems are gonna take credit for it all!!


5 posted on 11/14/2006 5:38:45 PM PST by cajungirl (no)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: blam
If Bin Laden is taken out in the next two weeks
we can chock that up to the Dems as well....JJ61
6 posted on 11/14/2006 5:40:16 PM PST by JerseyJohn61 (Better Late Than Never.......sometimes over lapping is worth the effort....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JerseyJohn61

No more news about the Homeless either.


7 posted on 11/14/2006 5:41:49 PM PST by unkus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Cementjungle

This is not good. We need to figure out how we can turn this into another bad effect of Global Warming (or as we say in Texas, weather)


8 posted on 11/14/2006 5:41:53 PM PST by bybybill (`IF TH E RATS WIN, WE LOSE)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: blam
I worked with guys who did high-production timber harvesting up in Vermont. The hippies gave us crap, but i reminded them that vermont has 3 times as much forest now as it did in 1850. The couldn't say much after that.


9 posted on 11/14/2006 5:43:21 PM PST by Fierce Allegiance
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cajungirl

"Interesting. Yesterday that guy said the world's oil reserves are three times what they thought. Today the forrests are back. Tomorrow global warmning will be debunked.

The stock market is rolling up, economy is great, unemployment way down.

The dems are gonna take credit for it all!!"

To top it all off, they say we'll be out of Iraq in a few months.

Life is good.


10 posted on 11/14/2006 5:46:41 PM PST by truth_seeker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: unkus
And yesterday it was announced that AIDS Patience's
can expect to live at least 25 years. MY, how things
have turned rosy!!..JJ61
11 posted on 11/14/2006 5:47:01 PM PST by JerseyJohn61 (Better Late Than Never.......sometimes over lapping is worth the effort....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: unkus

also expect the paralyzed to get up out of their wheelchairs and walk now the democrats can cure them ...

happy daze are here again


12 posted on 11/14/2006 5:54:52 PM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: silverleaf

Happy "daze" is right on target.


13 posted on 11/14/2006 5:56:10 PM PST by unkus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Fierce Allegiance
I was working on an oil well and a enviro tried to stop us cause we were disturbing prehistoric dirt.

Those wacko's never quit.
14 posted on 11/14/2006 5:56:15 PM PST by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: silverleaf
also expect the paralyzed to get up out of their wheelchairs and walk now the democrats can cure them ...

Soon, Christopther Reeves will walk again.

15 posted on 11/14/2006 6:01:49 PM PST by HoosierHawk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: blam

One of the advantages of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Bring on the greenhose gasses.


16 posted on 11/14/2006 6:02:07 PM PST by vets son
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

LOL< Geez! I drilled right through all kinds of historic crap in boston working on the big dig. If anyone knew, we'd get shut down for a historic review. pottery, all kinds of conatiners, silverwear. It all got loaded out as fast as possible to never be seen again, except the cobblestones which my crew used for their driveways.


17 posted on 11/14/2006 6:03:32 PM PST by Fierce Allegiance
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: vets son

Greenhoses are my favorites. ;-)


18 posted on 11/14/2006 6:04:05 PM PST by vets son
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: blam
As I understand the Kyoto Protocol, the United States was not allowed to use its massive woodlands as "carbon sinks," simply because Europe has no more forests.

So we can assume that this news will have absolutely no affect on the global warming craze.

We're just not European enough. Go figure.

19 posted on 11/14/2006 6:10:54 PM PST by HoosierHawk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
The authors say factors behind reforestation in North America and Europe range from increased conservation and farming productivity to a decline in newsprint demand following the rise of electronic media.

Ouch! The DBM might want to put some ice on that.

20 posted on 11/14/2006 6:17:57 PM PST by SnuffaBolshevik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fierce Allegiance
Me and my friend in Reno went Prospecting with metal detectors
on a union job site.
Imagine what happened..
21 posted on 11/14/2006 6:20:57 PM PST by MaxMax (God Bless America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: blam
In the U.S., for instance, forests in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois have expanded by half since the 19th century.

No surprise there. The family farm is all but extinct in those states.

22 posted on 11/14/2006 6:31:29 PM PST by randita
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Any farmer on the planet could have told these overpaid, overpraised, overeducated fear-mongers that cutting down the biggest trees in an area will allow multiple trees to grow in their place.


23 posted on 11/14/2006 6:49:39 PM PST by HelloooClareece (Support the CinC during WARTIME or get outta my way.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Rush said to prepare ourselves - we are suddenly going to start hearing stories again about the great economy and such.

He said he knows it will drive us crazy, so be prepared.


24 posted on 11/14/2006 7:30:44 PM PST by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cajungirl

Interesting. Yesterday that guy said the world's oil reserves are three times what they thought. Today the forrests are back. Tomorrow global warmning will be debunked.


Kinda like when you play a country western song backwards,


25 posted on 11/14/2006 7:35:29 PM PST by PeterPrinciple (Seeking the Truth here Folks.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: blam

Unfortunately, much of the reforestation involves planting coniferous trees after hardwoods have been harvested.

Hardwood trees support more plant and animal life, and are much more beneficial for human needs.

Now, before anybody gets upset, please know that, next to me, Rush Limbaugh is a card-carryin' commie. But, I do think that the timber industry and the ecosystem would be better served by replanting hardwood trees after they cut them down.


26 posted on 11/14/2006 7:55:22 PM PST by colonel mosby
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PeterPrinciple

LOL! You mean we're now gonna hear country western songs where the jury finds you not guilty, the wife/husband wants to renew the wedding vows and the dog comes home ... and the boss doesn't take the job and shove it!


27 posted on 11/15/2006 5:28:44 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson