1.02.02 - Ecology and silviculture of moist forests in the tropics



Publication Alert: Global biodiversity and productivity

Positive biodiversity-productivity relationship predominant in global forests

This article, in which IUFRO officeholder Sylvie Gourlet-Fleury is a co-author, has just been published in Science.

The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem productivity has been explored in detail in herbaceous vegetation, but patterns in forests are far less well understood. Liang et al. have amassed a global forest data set from >770,000 sample plots in 44 countries. A positive and consistent relationship can be discerned between tree diversity and ecosystem productivity at landscape, country, and ecoregion scales. On average, a 10% loss in biodiversity leads to a 3% loss in productivity. This means that the economic value of maintaining biodiversity for the sake of global forest productivity is more than fivefold greater than global conservation costs.

Details at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6309/aaf8957 

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Joberto Veloso de Freitas, Brazil


Christelle Gonmadje, Cameroon

Vincent Medjibé, Gabon

About Unit

The conservation of the biodiversity of the forest ecosystems of tomorrow will mostly take place within anthropized (logged, domesticated) forests. In this framework, the sustainable management of forest resource for timber production and/or Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) is considered as a potential tool for the conservation of large areas of tropical forest while ensuring economic benefits to different actors of the forestry sectors including farmers and forest communities. Currently, about 400 million hectares of tropical moist forests worldwide are designated as production forests, about a quarter of which is managed by rural communities and indigenous people (ITTO 2010). However, an important gap in the current knowledge remains the long-term sustainability of tropical forest product harvesting and related ecosystem services in tropical production forests. Given the large variability in floristic composition, functional composition and forest dynamics within the three main regions of tropical forest management guidelines should be adapted to these different types of forests to ensure sustainability. The silviculture of tomorrow will therefore also have to take into account any compromises between production of goods (timber, NTFP) and the conservation of services (biodiversity, carbon).

The main objectives of the unit is to contribute to improve our knowledge of the impact of harvesting operations (logging, NTFPs) on the ecology of tropical moist forests in order to propose sustainable forest management practices able to conciliate production of goods and conservation of the main environmental services of tropical forest (i.e. Biodiversity and Carbone).

State of Knowledge

Hot topics: tipping points in tropical silviculturetrade-off between:
(i)    commercial timber extraction and biodiversity conservation, i.e. what extent of management is possible without affecting biodiversity;
(ii)    Carbon sequestration by sustainable forest management and degradation of carbon stocks due to exploitation. Sustainable timber harvest enhances carbon sequestration but overexploitation leads to an irreversible degradation of carbon stocks. Where are the limits?