Plantations in WWF priority places
Environmental benefits:Plantations should not replace natural ecosystems. Instead, they should be established on marginal agricultural lands, like degraded grasslands. They regulate water availability and soil nutrients in the area, and work as carbon sinks. They can create corridors for wildlife to use. And critical areas for plants and animals would be left untouched or restored when needed.
Social benefits:We see poverty in many of WWF’s priority places. People struggle to feed their families and make a good living. Plantations should be designed and managed with the participation of local people and people affected by them. They should share their benefits locally and brings jobs to people.
NGP’s goal in priority places by 2020WWF aims for a wide consensus that forest plantations should:
- Contribute positively to the welfare of local communities
- Not replace ecosystems with high conservation value.
The Atlantic Forest, Brazil
WWF priority places where plantations are relevant
The Atlantic Forest stretches from northeast Brazil, south along the Brazilian Atlantic coastline and inland into northeast Argentina and eastern Paraguay. Although only a small part of the original forest remains, it is still one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, second only to the Amazon.
NGP participants have helped to conserve and restore rainforest and contribute to economic and social development in the region.
The Grasslands region, South Africa
Grasslands cover nearly a third of South Africa and are home to several animal and plant species. Wetlands play an important role in African grasslands, in terms of water-based ecosystem services.
Threats include conversion to agriculture, timber extraction, fire, bark-stripping of medicinal trees, soil erosion, cattle-grazing, firewood collection, aforestation with exotic trees, and other invasive plants.
The island of Sumatra is the only place where tigers, rhinos, orang-utans and elephants live together. Natural forests in Riau province in Sumatra are being cleared faster than at any time in history.
Riau lost 60% of its forests between the early 80s and 2005. Projections estimate 93% of its forests will be gone by 2015.
Forest fires, forest conversion and logging are causing severe damage to critical ecosystems. Often the activities are illegal. Sometimes the rights of local communities are violated in the process.
See here what explains Indonesia’s phenomenal rate of forest loss.
The Valdivian forests on the west coast of southern Chile, and stretching into parts of Argentina, are the only temperate rainforests in South America. They are home to the alerce tree – the southern hemisphere’s equivalent of the ancient redwood of the Pacific Northwest – which can reach heights of 115m and live for more than 3,000 years.