Biodiversity & Environment
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Species-rich Forests Offer Stable Carbon Capture
- 18 Jan 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
Surveys conducted inside Anamalai Tiger Reserve has shown that carbon storage was highest in species-rich evergreen forest.
- The study was conducted in the natural evergreen and deciduous forests and in teak and eucalyptus plantations.
- The results showed that the species-rich evergreen forests stored carbon at approximately 300 tons per hectare. The storage in teak and eucalyptus plantations was 43% and 55% less, respectively.
- The researchers also found that the rates of carbon capture remained nearly the same year after year in natural forests as compared with plantations.
- Transforming reforestation policies:
- According to government data, currently, five species or less are used for compensatory afforestation plantations which are way lower than natural forests.
- Protecting and regenerating natural forests comprising a diverse mix of native tree species is more reliable in the long term than raising monoculture or species-poor plantations as a strategy for mitigating climate change.
- Inadequacy of variety of species is not good for biodiversity and for the stability of carbon capture.
- Benefitting biodiversity: Species-rich forests are beneficial for biodiversity as they also provide habitat to diverse flora and fauna. Previous studies have shown that species-rich forests are also resistant to diseases.
- Securing resources: Species-rich forests have better resistance to forest fire because different trees have varying degrees of fire resistance depending on the thickness of the bark.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve
- It is one of the four Tiger Reserves in Tamil Nadu. Mudumalai, Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserves and Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary are the other three.
- It falls within the Western Ghats range of South West India, a region designated as one of the 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots.
- Animals and birds found: Elephant, gaur, tiger, panther, sloth bear, wild boar, wild dog, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, sambar, four horned antelope, chital, the trogar, pied hornbill and several eagles.
- The Tiger Reserve supports diverse habitat types like Wet evergreen forests, semi evergreen forests, moist deciduous, dry deciduous, dry thorn and shola forests. Other unique habitats like montane grasslands, savannah and marshy grasslands are also present.