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End of deforestation in view? Experts advance new way to size up global forest resources

ses and reforestation policies.

The paper, published Nov. 20 in the peer-reviewed US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was created by six experts from diverse academic disciplines (forestry, environmental technology, ecology, geography, resource economics, and agronomy) in China, Finland, Scotland, and the USA who, following independent lines of thinking, came to agree that forest transition on a major scale is underway and have now collectively demonstrated it.

The new way of measuring forests reflects the comprehensiveness of new FAO studies, a new consistency of measurement protocols and reliable ways of translating area, volume, and tons across countries.

Among the 50 nations studied, forest area in percentage terms shrank fastest from 1990 to 2005 in Nigeria and the Philippines, and expanded fastest in Viet Nam, Spain and China.

Growing stock fell fastest in Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines, and increased fastest in the Ukraine and Spain.

In absolute terms, Indonesia and Brazil experienced the greatest losses of both forested square kilometers and cubic meters of growing stock; China and the USA achieved the greatest gains.

"The Forest Identity separates nations into classes of expanding and shrinking forest that clarify the causes of changing forest expanse, timber, biomass, and carbon," says lead author, Pekka E. Kauppi of the University of Helsinki, Finland. The co-authors are Jesse H. Ausubel, Rockefeller University, USA; Jingyun Fang, Peking University, Beijing, China; Alexander Mather, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; Roger A. Sedjo, Resources for the Future, USA; and Paul E. Waggoner, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, USA.

Says Mr. Ausubel, an environmental scientist: "Earth suffered an epidemic of deforestation. Now humans may help spread an epidemic of forest restoration."

Changes in growing stock, 1990 to 2005

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Contact: Professor Pekka Kauppi
pekka.kauppi@helsinki.fi
358-919-158-300
University of Helsinki
13-Nov-2006


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