Com­plex ecosys­tems

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ECOWATCH -

THE World Bank es­ti­mates that over 1.6 bil­lion peo­ple de­pend on forests for their liveli­hood and the worth of for­est prod­ucts traded in­ter­na­tion­ally in 2004 was es­ti­mated at US$327bil.

Forests are com­plex ecosys­tems that give us:

> Prod­ucts: Food, fresh­wa­ter, fuel, fi­bre, bio­chem­i­cals and ge­netic re­sources.

> Reg­u­lat­ing ser­vices: Cli­mate reg­u­la­tion, dis­ease reg­u­la­tion, water pu­rifi­ca­tion and pol­li­na­tion.

> Cul­tural ser­vices: Spir­i­tual and re­li­gious, re­cre­ation and eco­tourism, aes­thet­ics, in­spi­ra­tion, ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural her­itage

> Sup­port­ing ser­vices: Soil for­ma­tion, nu­tri­ent cy­cling and pri­mary pro­duc­tion.

The United Na­tions es­ti­mates that about 1,300sqkm of forests are lost glob­ally ev­ery year due to con­ver­sion to agri­cul­tural land, un­sus­tain­able tim­ber har­vest­ing, un­sus­tain­able land man­age­ment prac­tices and poor land use plan­ning.

Ac­cord­ing to the State of the World’s For­est 2011 by the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion, forests cover just over four bil­lion ha or 31% of earth’s land area. Of these, pri­mary forests (undis­turbed na­tive nat­u­ral forests) make up for 36% but have re­port­edly de­creased by more than 40 mil­lion ha in the past decade. In con­trast, planted forests have grown in size and now ac­counts for close to 7% of to­tal forested ar­eas.

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