1.01.13 - Long-term research on forest ecosystem management in Northeast Asia
Forests cover approximately 30% of the Earth’s land surface and provide critical ecosystem goods and services, including food, fodder, water, shelter, nutrient cycling, and cultural and recreational value. Forests also store carbon, provide habitat for a wide range of species and help alleviate land degradation and desertification. Forests are biologically diverse systems, however, forests are increasingly threatened as a result of deforestation, fragmentation, climate change and other stressors that can be linked to human activities. Climate change, in particular, is expected to impact on forest biodiversity and the ability of forests to provide soil and water protection, habitat for species and other ecosystem services. Forest ecosystems identified as being particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change include: mangroves, boreal forests, tropical forests, cloud forests and dry forests (Rio Conventions, 2010). Climate change and forests are intrinsically linked: climate change is a threat to forests, and protecting forests from conversion and degradation helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. One critical goal of forest research is to create general knowledge through long-term, interdisciplinary studies, synthesis of information, and development of theory. The increased need for ecologists to examine global change, biodiversity, and sustainability is resulting in research and synthesis at larger spatial and temporal scales than traditionally addressed in forest studies. Adaptation strategies are needed to minimize potential negative impacts on the forest ecosystem, from national to regional scales. The complexity of natural and human systems is however a formidable barrier to quantifying climate change impacts and vulnerabilities. Integration of long-term forest research data and technologies from Long-term Forest Research in North East Asia (LFRNEA) countries would provide better scientific understanding of northeast Asia forest ecosystem concerns and important support for developing adaptation strategies to climate change impacts.