The Future of Forests

January 20, 2016 | Dr. Jeff Wells

'Family of Five' major intact forest regions
Credit: Canadian Geographic

Colleague Dr. Bill Laurance, one of the world’s top tropical forest ecologists and conservationists, recently authored two very compelling pieces about the future of the world’s Family of Five forests.

His piece, “Five trends that will define the world’s forests in 2016”, although focused on tropical forests, includes trends that will impact Canada’s Boreal Forest region including the world economy (commodity prices in particular), continued increases in large fires as a result of the El Niño drought, and positive results that could flow from the recent Paris Climate Accord.

We hope that a six trend may be added in Canada—that of a major increase in the amount of Boreal Forest pledged to conservation and moved into permanent protection status. 

Bill also has a great, short piece entitled, “In 2016, Rain Forest Conservation Needs to Focus on These Two Things” that again highlights big picture ideas about tropical forest conservation that have application to the Boreal Forest region and are well worth the read. One of his “two things” is about the spider web of roads that are creeping across the world’s last, intact primary forest regions.

Of course this is an issue in Canada’s Boreal Forest region as well and is yet another reason why it is crucial that broad scale regional land-use planning take place before industrial natural resource extraction in these forests. Planning ahead can allow road building to be done in the most efficient and least harmful way and can ensure that the most important places for plants, birds, fish, mammals and other living things including humans, can be maintained into the future.

Conservation, Industry and Development, Media, News


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