Tropical rainforests play a critical role in regulating the global climate system -- they represent the Earth's largest terrestrial CO2 sink. Because of its broad geographical expanse and year-long productivity, the Amazon is key to the global carbon and hydrological cycles. Climate change could threaten the fate of rainforests, but there is great uncertainty about the future ability of rainforests to store carbon.
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This conference was organised by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service, the USDA Forest Service, Western Forestry and Conservation Association, Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, the American Public Gardens Association and BGCI. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together foresters and botanic garden professionals to discuss common interests in tree species conservation, and to explore the opportunities for working together applying interdisciplinary data, knowledge and skills.
Source: USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station
Between 2000 and 2012, the world lost more forest area than it gained, according to U.S. Forest Service researchers and partners who estimated a global net loss of 1.71 million square kilometers of forest -- an area about two and a half times the size of Texas. Furthermore, when researchers analyzed patterns of remaining forest, they found a global loss of interior forest -- core areas that, when intact, maintain critical habitat and ecological functions.