Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More shooting today: Ecosystem Services

Our friends at Gekko are shooting one of the final interviews today for the Forests4Indonesia project. This interview looks at the value of the ecosystem services provided by natural forest - and highlights the economic value of standing forest, over simple calculations of timber value and plantation expansion. Ecosystem services include: providing clean water and fresh food; supporting a wider area of land through the nutrient cycle (e.g. leaf litter being dispersed by rivers to flood plains) and essential habitat for pollinating species (keeping our crops reproducing); cultural values (forest and flowers are essential to our friends the Orang Rimba); and the maintenance of rich biodiversity - with Sumatra's lowland forest being the most biodiverse in the world (ref. RSPB Harapan Project).

It is worth noting that pest problems, such as rats and locusts are often associated with largescale monoculture, where the natural balance of predators and prey, and the lack of diversity of animals reflects the lack of diversity of plants - on the other hand natural forest is a highly complex system that works against plague proportions, and thus doesn't require the use of intensive fertilisers and pesticides which are used in mono-cultures, further damaging the ecosystem and clean water supplies for humans.

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