|Home | Archives | About | Login | Submissions | Notify | Contact | Search|
Copyright © 2002 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.
The following is the established format for referencing this article:
Pandey, D. N. 2002. Sustainability science for tropical forests. Conservation Ecology 6(1): r13. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol6/iss1/resp13/
Response to Elmqvist et al. 2001. "Tropical forest reorganization after cyclone and fire disturbance in Samoa: remnant trees as biological legacies" Sustainability Science for Tropical Forests Deep Narayan Pandey
Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal
Published: June 4, 2002
Tropical forests are vital for social, economic, and ecological reasons. They play an important role in ecosystem processes (such as the biogeochemical and hydrological cycles), they provide habitat for wildlife and serve as sources of biodiversity, and they offer protection against soil erosion (Kremen et al. 2000, Sala et al. 2000, Pandey, 2001, Condit et al. 2002). In this era of global warming (Forest et al. 2002), tropical forests help mitigate the effects of climate change (Phillips et al. 1998, Schimel et al. 2001), and maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (Loreau et al. 2001). However, in spite of their obvious value, human activity is causing unprecedented threats to tropical forest ecosystems (Noble and Dirzo 1997). Therefore, the study by Elmqvist et al. (2001) on the essential components of spatial resilience in tropical forest ecosystems is useful and timely.
Although I agree with Elmqvist et al. (2002) that active management of tropical forests that have been exposed to large-scale disturbances should focus on the management of remnant trees, refugia, and vertebrate dispersers, I would, however, suggest that we need broader strategies to maintain the resilience and regenerative capacity of these tropical forests to ensure their sustainability. The regenerative capacities of disturbed, fragmented, or harvested tropical forests provide hope, and a clear message about how to prevent further species loss (Chazdon 1998).
It might be useful to examine some core issues of sustainability science (Kates et al. 2001) for tropical forests that may have some bearing on resilience and, therefore, on sustainability of tropical forests.
The core issues (Kates et al. 2001) we should be asking in order to assess ecosystems (Ayensu et al. 1999), and thus help formulate adaptive tropical forest management, might include the following.
In conclusion, I would reiterate that tropical forests are vital for social, economic, and ecological reasons. We need to explore the core questions of sustainability science in the context of tropical forests and design robust policy and practice for adaptive tropical forest management if we are to mitigate the negative effects of human intervention in these ecosystems.
Responses to this article are invited. If accepted for publication, your response will be hyperlinked to the article. To submit a comment, follow this link. To read comments already accepted, follow this link.
I am grateful to Shri N. K. Joshi, Director, Indian Institute of Forest Management Bhopal, Dr. Ram Prasad, PCCF of Madhya Pradesh, and Caroline Simpson for helpful suggestions. Support from the Ford Foundation and Winrock International is gratefully acknowledged.
Ayensu, E., D. v. R. Claasen, M. Collins, A. Dearing, L. Fresco, M. Gadgil,H. Gitay, G. Glaser, C. Juma, J. Krebs, R. Lenton, J. Lubchenco, J. A. McNeely, H. A. Mooney, P. Pinstrup-Andersen, M. Ramos, P. Raven, W. V. Reid, C. Samper, J. Sarukhán, P. Schei, J. Galízia Tundisi, R. T. Watson, X. Guanhua, and A. H. Zakri. 1999. International ecosystem assessment. Science 286:685–686.
Bawa, K. S., and S. Dayanandan. 1997. Socioeconomic factors and tropical deforestation. Nature 386:562–563.
Bond, W. J., and J. J. Midgley. 2001. Ecology of sprouting in woody plants: the persistence niche. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16:45–51.
Bowles, I. A., R. E. Rice, R. A. Mittermeier, and G. A. B. da Fonseca. 1998. Logging and tropical forest conservation. Science 280:1899–1900.
Bruna, E. M. 1999. Seed germination in rainforest fragments. Nature 402:139.
Chambers, J. Q., N. Higuchi, and J. P. Schimel. 1998. Ancient trees in Amazonia. Nature 391:135–136.
Chazdon, R. L. 1998. Tropical forests—log 'em or leave 'em? Science 281:1295–1296.
Condit, R., N. Pitman, E. G. Leigh Jr., J. Chave, J. Terborgh, R. B. Foster, P. Nunez, S. Aguilar, R. Valencia, G. Villa, H. C. Muller-Landau, E. Losos, and S. P. Hubbell. 2002. Beta-diversity in tropical forest trees. Science 295:666–669.
Cox, P. A. 2000. Will tribal knowledge survive the millennium? Science 287:44–45.
Elmqvist, T., M. Wall, A. L. Berggren, L. Blix, Å. Fritioff, and U. Rinman. 2001. Tropical forest reorganization after cyclone and fire disturbance in Samoa: remnant trees as biological legacies. Conservation Ecology 5(2):10. [Online, URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol5/iss2/art10.]
Forest, C. E., P. H. Stone, A. P. Sokolov, M. R. Allen, and M. D. Webster. 2002. Quantifying uncertainties in climate system properties with the use of recent climate observations. Science 295:113–117.
Hamilton, M. B. 1999. Tropical tree gene flow and seed dispersal. Nature 401:129–130.
Janzen, D. H. 1998. Gardenification of wildland nature and the human footprint. Science 279:1312–1313.
Kates, R. W., W. C. Clark, R. Corell, J. M. Hall, C. C. Jaeger, I. Lowe, J. J. McCarthy, H. J. Schellnhuber, B. Bolin, N. M. Dickson, S. Faucheux, G. C. Gallopin, A. Grubler, B. Huntley, J. Jager, N. S. Jodha , R. E. Kasperson, A. Mabogunje, P. Matson, H. Mooney, B. Moore III, T. O'Riordan, and U. Svedlin. 2001. Sustainability science. Science 292:641–642.
Kremen, C., J. O. Niles, M. G. Dalton, G. C. Daily, P. R. Ehrlich, J. P. Fay, D. Grewal, and R. R. P. Guillery. 2000. Economic incentives for rain forest conservation across scales. Science 288:1828–1832.
Laurance, W. F., P. Delamônica, S. G. Laurance, H. L. Vasconcelos, and T. E. Lovejoy. 2000. Rainforest fragmentation kills big trees. Nature 404:836.
Lawton, R. O., U. S. Nair, R. A. Pielke, and R. M. Welch. 2001. Climatic impact of tropical lowland deforestation on nearby montane cloud forests. Science 294: 584–587.
Loreau, M., S. Naeem, P. Inchausti, J. Bengtsson, J. P. Grime, A. Hector, D. U. Hooper, M. A. Huston, D. Raffaelli, B. Schmid, D. Tilman, and D. A. Wardle. 2001. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: current knowledge and future challenges. Science 294:804–808.
Noble, I. R., and R. Dirzo. 1997. Forests as human-dominated ecosystems. Science 277:522–525.
Pandey, D. N. 2001. A bountiful harvest of rainwater. Science 293:1763–1763.
Phillips, O. L., Y. Malhi, N. Higuchi, W. F. Laurance, P. V. Núñez, R. M. Vásquez, S. G. Laurance, L. V. Ferreira, M. Stern, S. Brown, and J. Grace. 1998. Changes in the carbon balance of tropical forests: evidence from long-term plots. Science 282:439–442.
Sala, O. E., F. S. Chapin III, J. J. Armesto, E. Berlow, J. Bloomfield, R. Dirzo, E. Huber-Sanwald, L. F. Huenneke, R. B. Jackson, A. Kinzig, R. Leemans, D. M. Lodge, H. A. Mooney, M. Oesterheld, N. L. Poff, M. T. Sykes, B. H. Walker, M. Walker, and D. H. Wall. 2000. Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100 . Science 287:1770–1774.
Schimel, D. S., J. I. House, K. A. Hibbard, P. Bousquet, P. Ciais, P. Peylin, B. H. Braswell, M. J. Apps, D. Baker, A. Bondeau, J. Canadell, G. Churkina, W. Cramer, A. S. Denning, C. B. Field, P. Friedlingstein, C. Goodale, M. Heimann, R. A. Houghton, J. M. Melillo, B. Moore III, D. Murdiyarso, I. Noble, S. W. Pacala, I. C. Prentice, M. R. Raupach, P. J. Rayner, R. J. Scholes, W. L. Steffen, and C. Wirth. 2001. Recent patterns and mechanisms of carbon exchange by terrestrial ecosystems. Nature 414:169–172.
Address of Correspondent:
Deep Narayan Pandey
Indian Forest Service
IUFRO Research Group 6.19.00: Ethnoforestry
Indian Institute of Forest Management
Phone: (91-755) 763490
|Home | Archives | About | Login | Submissions | Notify | Contact | Search|