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20 Sep 2011: Biodiversity Loss in SE Asia
Highest Among Tropical Regions, Study Says

The forests of Southeast Asia have suffered the greatest biodiversity loss of any tropical region over the last 50 years, according to a study by researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia. According to the study, published in the journal Nature, the region has experienced the highest rates of deforestation for agricultural use, palm oil plantations, timber production, and other human uses, and now has the highest densities of human population among major tropical regions. In an analysis of 138 studies, the Adelaide researchers found that most forms of forest degradation have had an “overwhelmingly” detrimental impact on biodiversity. The authors say the link between human interference and biodiversity loss suggests that restoration or revegetation of disturbed forest is no substitute for maintaining natural, or so-called primary, forests. “We’re kidding ourselves if we think the damage can be reversed,” said Barry Brook, a researcher at the university’s Environment Institute and co-author of the study.

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