Scientists: Preserving intact forests an urgent global priority
When it comes to habitat quality and ecosystem services, research has shown that natural landscapes do it best. A new study, published today in Nature, adds fodder to this argument, describing how intact forests are critically important for mitigating climate change, maintaining water supplies, safeguarding biodiversity and even protecting human health. However, it warns that global policies aimed at reducing deforestation are not putting enough emphasis on the preservation of the world’s dwindling intact forests, instead relying on a one-size-fits-all approach that may end up doing more harm than good.
Intact forests are large areas of connected habitat free from human-caused disturbance. From the Amazon rainforest in South America to the taiga that rings the Arctic, the Earth’s intact forests provide a diverse array of unbroken habitats for many – if not most – of the planet’s terrestrial wildlife.