Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plantations can provide the same ecosystem services as natural forests

Date:
February 2, 2010
Source:
Ecological Society of America
Summary:
Not all plantations need to be the biological deserts that have come to characterize large-scale, industrial plantations. According to scientists, well-planned plantations can actually alleviate some of the social, economic and ecological burden currently being placed on natural forests.

Not all plantations need to be the biological deserts that have come to characterize large-scale, industrial plantations. According to scientists in a paper out in February's issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, well-planned plantations can actually alleviate some of the social, economic and ecological burden currently being placed on natural forests.

In addition, these biologically diverse, multi-purposed plantations can mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon, off-setting deforestation and reducing ecological strain on natural forests.

"Forest plantations have acquired a bad reputation," says Alain Paquette from the Université du Québec à Montréal, who co-authored the study with colleague Christian Messier. "But not all plantations are so-called 'biological desserts.' We believe that plantations have a legitimate place in the sound management of forests, and our aim is to provide some basis for an open discussion and to promote the use of well-conceived plantations."

The researchers looked at the types of plantations currently in use, the benefits and challenges associated with each and the best methods for creating the greatest social, economic and environmental return. For example, the authors examined the constraints plantations place on protecting natural forests, mitigating the effects of climate change and restoring ecological services.

In terms of the protection of natural forests, the researchers found that plantations were capable of alleviating the ecological stressors placed on natural forests when used within an integrated forest zoning approach -- that is, when rules are enforced to ensure any increase in plantations is matched by protected areas within the same landscape.

"We have to look beyond the rows of uniform trees and evaluate plantations over larger temporal and spatial scales," says Paquette. "Well-planned, multi-purposed plantations can help preserve high diversity, old-growth forests that would be cut otherwise."

As for climate change, the authors reference a direct link between climate change and deforestation: land-use change accounts for roughly 25 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions. In order for plantations to help limit the effects of climate change, the researchers contend, nations need to address the current economic demand for dead trees over live ones.

The researchers argue that, although even industrial monocultures can produce meaningful ecological services when managed correctly, "we can do better locally by using biologically diverse, multi-purposed plantations," says Paquette. "Theory and experimental works suggest that even more services could be produced with carefully chosen mixtures of species to promote the optimal use of resources."

In contrast to the common perception of plantations as biological deserts, the researchers describe the necessary elements for a well-planned, biologically-diverse plantation system. By improving plantation design through, among other methods, less intensive soil preparation, mixed-species vegetation and greater tolerance of other species in long-term maintenance, the authors believe that such plantations can deliver social, economic and environmental services similar to that of natural forests.

As a follow-up to their research, Paquette and colleagues are testing the potential benefits of allocating a small proportion of land over a one million hectare territory in eastern Canada to well-planned, multi-purposed plantations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ecological Society of America. "Plantations can provide the same ecosystem services as natural forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201101854.htm>.
Ecological Society of America. (2010, February 2). Plantations can provide the same ecosystem services as natural forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201101854.htm
Ecological Society of America. "Plantations can provide the same ecosystem services as natural forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201101854.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) — Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) — Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins