30 Aug 2011:
Deforestation Rates Higher
In ‘Protected’ Forests, Study Says
A new study says deforestation rates in tropical forests designated as “protected” areas are typically much higher than in community-managed forests
. In a comparison of recent studies covering 40 protected areas and 33 community forests in 16 countries — including 11 in Latin America, three in Asia, and two in Africa — researchers found that protected areas lost an average of 1.47 percent of forest cover annually while community-managed forests lost only about 0.24 percent per year. “Our findings suggest that a forest put away behind a fence and designated ‘protected’ doesn’t necessarily guarantee that canopy cover will be maintained over the long term compared to forests managed by local communities,” said Manuel Guariguata, a senior scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research and co-author of the study, published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management
. While the researchers do not contend that the designation of forest areas as protected is “useless,” they say the evidence suggests community-based efforts can lead to increased local participation, reduced poverty, and greater economic opportunities and are a key part of forest conservation efforts globally.
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