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Global forest status assessments are biased toward tree cover and do not properly consider ecological properties of forest ecosystems. Tree-cover data cannot be considered a direct indicator of forest area because tree cover includes also plantations under agriculture and urban land use. A global map of forest naturalness is needed for sustainable development.
In recent weeks, huge forest areas have burned in Siberia and the Amazon, the "lungs of the Earth," causing the acceleration of climate change and the collapse of Earth ecosystems. Humanity must immediately implement global strategies to guarantee the permanence of life as we know it on the planet.
Community - Solutions - Agreement - Fact - Protection
The scientific community is discussing multiple solutions, but there is unanimous agreement on the fact that the protection and restoration of forests is a fundamental step for the mitigation of global changes and biodiversity conservation. However, there are also points of disagreement with how to define forests, how to measure them, and how to manage them sustainably. Tree cover, easily mappable with satellite instruments, represents the most used measure, but the forest is much more than a mere assemblage of trees.
In a recent work published by Conservation Biology, Alessandro Chiarucci, University of Bologna, and Gianluca Piovesan, University of Tuscia, argue that a global map of forests with different degrees of naturalness (intact, old-growth, "rewilding" and managed forests) is...
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