Temperate and boreal rainforests are biogeographically unique. Compared to their tropical counterparts, they are rarer and at least as endangered. Because most temperate and boreal rainforests are marked by the intersection of marine, terrestrial, and freshwater systems, their rich ecotones are among the most productive regions on Earth. Many of them store more carbon per hectare than even tropical rainforests, contain some of the oldest and largest trees on the planet, and provide habitat for scores of rare and unique species including some with affinities dating back to the supercontinent Gondwanaland and when dinosaurs were king.
In spite of their global significance, however, protection levels for these remarkable rainforests are far too low to sustain them under a rapidly changing global climate and ever expanding human footprint. And because they have been ignored in recent efforts to curtail greenhouse gas pollutants from deforestation, they are destined to become the world’s forgotten rainforests in global efforts to stem global warming pollution. Fortunately a global campaign is underway to step up conservation of these remarkable rainforests, seeking an end to logging of native forests in Tasmania and new logging restrictions in British Columbia to protect up to 70% of the Great Bear Rainforest.
This book offers an essential (and heretofore missing) scientific reference that can be used to shine an international spotlight of conservation importance on these rainforests. It also includes specific actions for governments, conservation groups, and others to take action while there is still time. Canadian scientists, including David Suzuki, are already using the book to convince government decisionmakers that Canada’s 20 million hectares of temperate and boreal rainforests need to be protected as “insurance against climate change.”
The edition also includes new computer models for predicting the occurrence of rainforests and some surprise additions (e.g. South Africa, Iran, Turkey, Japan, Russia). It is written in easy to understand language for a wide audience of scientists, conservationists, ecology students, decision makers and anyone else concerned about the fate of rainforests.
Dominick A. DellaSala is Chief Scientist and President of this organization as well as President of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology.
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