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Articles on Forests

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Eastern Australia’s forests could be a hotspot for deforestation in the future - just like these forests in south east Asia. William Laurance

WWF fires a warning shot over Australia’s land-clearing record

A new WWF report highlights Australia as a hotspot for future deforestation. Australia talks the talk on deforestation, but will it walk the walk?
In the 1920s and 1930s crews surveyed much of California, collecting information about vegetation. This photo was taken in 1936 by Albert Wieslander. Marian Koshland Biosciences Library

California’s majestic trees are declining — a harbinger of future forests

Scientists in my native state of California were handed a gift: a trove of detailed information about the state’s forests taken during the 1920s and 1930s and digitized over the past 15 years. When we…
The forest is home to animals, birds, plants, and tourist trains. EPA

How to save Brazil’s Atlantic forest on a shoe string

Brazil’s Atlantic forest – Mata Atlântica – is one of the world’s great biodiversity hotspots, rivalling even the Amazon. Running on and off for several thousand kilometres along the coast, the forest…
Much of Tasmania’s World Heritage has been sculpted by ice. The extension to the area (currently under debate) adds to all these values. Simon Lieschke/Flickr

Tasmania’s World Heritage debate needs to look beyond the trees

The debate around Tasmania’s controversial World Heritage extension, under review this week at international talks in Doha, has centred on forests. But the area includes far more than “just” trees — including…
Which path will the government take? Roger Jones

How our forests are governed is not yet out of the woods

Three years ago, government plans to privatise the forests met with strong opposition from community groups and NGOs. But there have been calls for change – among others the Woodland Trust has called for…
Fire is one of the reasons tall trees struggle in the heat. Valley_Guy/Flickr

Catch-22: big trees fight climate change but suffer in the heat

Clearing forests is one of the major contributors to carbon dioxide emissions — something we’ll need to keep in check if we’re to have any hope of mitigating climate change. Recent research suggested that…
Changing corporate attitudes are giving orangutans and other endangered species in Indonesia’s rainforests more hope of survival. Flickr/Austronesian Expeditions

How global forest-destroyers are turning over a new leaf

Indonesia is the world’s biggest destroyer of forests and four multinational corporations — APP, APRIL, Wilmar and Golden Agri Resources — have been responsible for much of it. Until recently these mega-corporations…
Large trees don’t slow down with age. Michelle Venter

Big old trees grow faster, making them vital carbon absorbers

Large, older trees have been found to grow faster and absorb carbon dioxide more rapidly than younger, smaller trees, despite the previous view that trees’ growth slowed as they developed. Research published…
The Styx forests: world heritage, or soon to be unprotected again? Rob Blakers

Australia going backwards on World Heritage listed forests

The Abbott government wants iconic forests removed from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, so they can be logged – a plan opposed by timber companies, their industry body, Tasmania’s Premier…
Using tree measurements by Papua New Guinean villagers such as Daniel and Jackson, scientists can estimate that this tree stores about one tonne of carbon in its trunk and branches. Michelle Venter

How tree huggers can save forests with science

While hugging a tree sounds relaxing, it’s harder than you might think - especially when the tree is 20 storeys high and 3 metres wide, it’s hot as hell, and you’re swatting away swarms of sweat bugs…
150,000 square kilometres of tropical rainforest is destroyed every year. Threat to democracy

Carbon emissions must not distract us from conservation

With current concerns focusing, quite rightly, on controlling carbon emissions, it is easy to lose sight of the need for continued conservation efforts. In fact our recent study published in the Proceedings…
Longer droughts and hotter temperatures are taking down the world’s forests. Jonathan Nalder

Across the world, trees are dropping dead

Over the last 30 years, every forested continent has had a widespread drought which has killed trees. The geographical scale of drought, and the duration and almost coordinated nature of these droughts…
We can develop a logging industry that works for everyone. Flickr/Ta Ann: Behind the veneer

How to get sustainable forestry right

Australian forestry is shifting: in recent months some states have moved to log less, some more. More logging brings protests about environmental values; less, complaints about how it will affect the state’s…
Harnessing the energy in wood may help wean Australia off fossil fuels. Flickr/chriscardinal

Bioenergy a burning question for Tasmania’s forests

With Australia trying to meet renewable energy targets and reduce emissions wherever possible, we should be considering bioenergy. Bioenergy can be made by burning biomass in a variety of forms, including…
A sliver of hope as forests learn to consume more CO2. Moyan Brenn

Forests less thirsty thanks to increasing carbon dioxide levels

Global warming is primarily driven by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. Chief among these gases is carbon dioxide (CO2), which warms the planet by trapping heat that would…

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