Environmental News from India:
- South and Southeast Asia’s 19,000 tree species form the foundations of some of the world’s most biodiverse rainforests, as well as provide irreplaceable ecosystem services and underpin the livelihoods and diets of hundreds of millions of people.
- However, roughly three-quarters of the land deemed most important to protect regional tree diversity lies outside of protected areas, according to a new study that evaluates the distribution and threats facing 63 native tree species.
- The study found that India had the highest proportion of priority areas for restoration, where tree planting, assisted regeneration, and agroforestry could provide many benefits.
- The researchers recommend seed collection and storage to preserve genetic diversity and potential for assisted migration, especially in parts of India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam that the authors deem priority areas.
An international team of scientists has confirmed that current environmental protections in South and Southeast Asia fail to safeguard tree species and their valuable seed sources. The team studied the distribution and threats facing some of the region’s most economically important tree species.
Their findings, published in Conservation Biology, show that roughly three-quarters of the land deemed most important to protect tree diversity lies outside of the region’s protected areas. The researchers say the results highlight that more needs to be done to safeguard the region’s roughly 19,000 tree species, many of which provide irreplaceable ecosystem services and underpin the livelihoods and diets of hundreds of millions of people.
Ambitious global forest restoration targets to address the climate and biodiversity crises add a further level of urgency to safeguarding tree diversity, according to the study authors.
“We have big plans that forests and trees will help us to mitigate climate change, and they will continue to provide all of the ecosystem services that we need for years to come,” Riina Jalonen, co-author of the study and a scientist at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, told Mongabay.
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