A new analysis reports that ecological restoration generally deliver benefits for both conserving biodiversity and supporting human livelihoods, but does not completely reverse degradation caused by humans.
The research, published in Science, examined 89 studies and found that ecological restoration increased provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 44 percent and 25 percent respectively. Values of both, however, remained lower in restored than in intact reference ecosystems. Still Jose Rey Benayas and colleagues are encouraged that restoration projects could become increasingly viable under emerging payments for environmental services schemes like the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism proposed for a post-Kyoto climate agreement. Such initiatives, which could compensate developing countries for protecting and restoring ecosystems, could simultaneously deliver benefits to the environment and local communities.
The authors suggest the development of cost-benefit analyses that incorporate the values of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services could help “maximize return on investments in restoration.”
José M. Rey Benayas, Adrian C. Newton, Anita Diaz, James M. Bullock. “Enhancement of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by Ecological Restoration: A Meta-Analysis.” Science 31 July 2009
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(01/21/2009) At the Smithsonian symposium entitled “Will the Rainforests Survive?”, leading tropical biologists vigorously debated current threats to the rainforest and what the future may hold. While climate change was identified as a leading threat to rainforests, many of the scientists argued that the tropics may also be the key to mitigating the impact of global warming.
(01/19/2009) “I want to convince you we need to go beyond primary forests to preserve biodiversity”, Robin Chazdon told an audience at the National Natural History Museum during a symposium on the tropics. Chazdon, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, has been studying secondary growth forests for over eighteen years. Secondary forests are those forests in the process of regrowth after being used for agriculture or logging. In her study area of NE Costa Rica, many of these forests were converted to pastures in the 1970s and 1980s, but have since been abandoned. In her presentation Chazdon argued that to preserve biodiversity numerous types of human-impacted landscapes, such as secondary forest, require attention by the conservation community.
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