Continually logging and re-growing tropical forests to supply timber is reducing the levels of vital nutrients in the soil, which may limit future forest growth and recovery, according to a new study. This raises concerns about the long-term sustainability of logging in the tropics.
“Phosphorus limitation is a really serious global issue: it’s one of the areas where humans are using a vital resource beyond sustainable levels,” said Fitzwilliam College Fellow Professor David Coomes, Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, who led the project.
The researchers found that differences from old-growth forest become more pronounced as logged forests grow larger over time, suggesting exacerbated phosphorus limitation as forests recover.
Find out more about the study from the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute.
Picture credit: Kate Davison, Greenpeace.