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Why we should be Protecting Temperate and Dry Forests

Temperate and tropical dry forests—not just rainforests—are home to thousands of unique tree species, a new study reveals.

Scientists studied data from more than 10,000 forest and savanna sites across the Americas, discovering unique and special tree biodiversity.

Conservation efforts have traditionally focussed on rainforests, partly because they contain so many tree species.

But the new study—by an international team including the University of Edinburgh and the University of Exeter—overturns this conventional wisdom.

It shows that nearly 30% of tree evolutionary diversity is only to be found in temperate and tropical dry forests, while the comparable figure for tropical rainforests is 26%.

"Our findings show that temperate forests and dry forests have unique evolutionary history that merits far greater conservation attention," said Professor Toby Pennington, of Exeter's Global Systems Institute.

"Protecting rain forests is obviously vital for many reasons, but we shouldn't ignore the unique tree biodiversity of temperate and dry forests."

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Thursday, May 7, 2020