Title: The past, present and future of Africa's rainforests
Authors: MALHI Y.ADU-BREDU StephenASARE Rebecca A.LEWIS SMAYAUX Philippe
Publisher: ROYAL SOC
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC83609
ISSN: 0962-8436
URI: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1625/20120293.full
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0293
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The Africanwet tropics contain the second largest area of tropical rainforest in the world (second only toAmazonia), accounting for roughly 30% of global rainforest cover, the lush green heart of an otherwise generally dry continent. These rainforests have global significance and value as reservoirs of biodiversity, as stores and sinks of atmospheric carbon, as regulators of flow of mighty rivers, as sources of moisture to the atmosphere and engines of the global atmospheric circulation, as a key component of the Earth system and its biogeochemical cycles, and as providers of resources and ecosystem services to local communities and the region’s nations. They also have a unique and particular history of changes in climate and human pressure, and face a range of contemporary pressures. Over the twenty-first century, the African rainforest realmhas the potential to witness massive change, both through an expansion of deforestation, hunting and logging, and through the effects of global climate change. This Theme Issue presents a multidisciplinary perspective on the nature and ecology of the African rainforest biome, and examines the current pressures and future threats to this biome. Compared with the other major rainforest regions, Amazonia and Southeast Asia, the African rainforest realm remains understudied, and in particular there have been very few attempts at interdisciplinary synthesis. This Theme Issue is an attempt to address this deficit, and explores what we know about the African rainforests and the threats they face, and what we need to know is this century of rapid change. In some ways, this can be viewed as a complement to similar Theme Issues of this journal focused on the rainforests of Amazonia [1,2] and Southeast Asia [3].
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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