Check out this week’s Forest Digest:
- “Did Deforestation Pave the Way for Ebola Outbreak?” — Discovery News
The three West African countries hit hardest by the recent Ebola epidemic — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — have each experienced massive deforestation, following a pattern since the 1990s in which outbreaks of the virus have closely tracked drastic changes in forest ecosystems. Researchers say the deforestation facilitates contact between humans and natural reservoirs of the virus.
- “Researchers create global map of world’s forests circa 1990” — Mongabay
Researchers from the University of Maryland have created a global map of the world’s forests in the year 1990, enabling accurate comparisons between past and current deforestation rates. The research is based on 30-meter resolution NASA satellite data. It confirms that deforestation was particularly high in boreal regions and the tropics in the 1990s. Individual country data for 1990 will be available soon.
- “Protecting biodiversity could be key to keeping forests standing in the long term” — Phys.org
New research from scientists at Fauna & Flora International published in Oryz — The International Journal of Conservation found evidence that suggests that failure to protect biodiversity — particularly large mammals — could negatively affect tropical forests in the long term. One of the biggest threats comes from hunting, which can reduce tree survival and decrease forest resilience to climate change, disease and fires.
- “Better Logging Could Slow Global Warming” — Scientific American
Scientists say about half of the damage from logging operations can be avoided. According to a recent study published in the journal Global Change Biology, a quarter of the trees that are cut down by loggers end up abandoned in the forest because they are hollow and therefore have low commercial value. The Nature Conservancy is partnering with loggers in Indonesia to limit the destruction of tropical forests