Tropical Forests Fight for Survival

sumatra-burning-forest-courtesy-of-kim-worm-sorensen-sml

By Stephen Leahy*

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Jan 28 (Tierram̩rica) РCurrent rates of deforestation suggest there will hardly be any tropical forests left in 20 years. Sixty percent of the rainforests, which survived for 50 million consecutive years, are already gone.

However, some experts say widespread planting of previously logged forests offers hope for preserving some of the region’s rich and unique biodiversity.

Recent satellite data have shown that about 350,000 square kilometres of the original forested areas are growing back, Greg Asner of the Washington-based Carnegie Institution said at the Smithsonian symposium Jan. 12 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, also in the U.S. capital.

That is only 1.7 percent of the immense planetary belt of original forest that once covered 20 million square kilometres. Twelve million sq km have already been cleared while another five million have been selectively logged, Asner reported.

“There is going to be lots of tropical forest left in the future but it will be different forest,” says Joseph Wright of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. Continue reading