Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Found: 'lost' forests covering an area two-thirds the size of Australia

By Andrew Lowe and Ben Sparrow

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

A new global analysis of the distribution of forests and woodlands has “found” 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest – an area equivalent to 60% of the size of Australia. The Conversation

The discovery increases the known amount of global forest cover by around 9%, and will significantly boost estimates of how much carbon is stored in plants worldwide.

The new forests were found by surveying “drylands” – so called because they receive much less water in precipitation than they lose through evaporation and plant transpiration. As we and our colleagues report today in the journal Science, these drylands contain 45% more forest than has been found in previous surveys.

We found new dryland forest on all inhabited continents, but mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, around the Mediterranean, central India, coastal Australia, western South America, northeastern Brazil, northern Colombia and Venezuela, and northern parts of the boreal forests in Canada and Russia. In Africa, our study has doubled the amount of known dryland forest.


...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.