Royal Society Publishing

Species survival and carbon retention in commercially exploited tropical rainforest

Ghillean T. Prance

Abstract

Since deforestation is one of the sources of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere, any measures that prevent or reduce the amount of forest removal are beneficial to the environment and to conservation of biodiversity. In recent years, there has been considerable research on the value of standing forests and many researchers have promoted the management of tropical forests as the best type of land use. On the other hand, the enormous diversity is a serious obstacle to management and use of tropical rainforest. A single hectare of forest can have up to 306 species of trees of 10 cm diameter or more. Here we present a brief review of some of the research and programmes that have tried to promote the use and conservation of tropical forest without clear felling. The sustainable use of the standing forest has usually been promoted as a means of species conservation; however, it is also a way to maintain the carbon fixed in the ecosystem. Here we review some of the pros and cons of extraction of non–timber forest products.

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