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A new study released by the Wildlife Conservation Society reveals that the annual rate of deforestation in the Northern Plains 'conservation landscape' is significantly lower than deforestation rate in those parts of the landscape that are not the focus of conservation activities. The annual rate of forest loss for the conservation area was 0.19% between 2002 and 2010, compared to a figure almost ten times higher for the surrounding Buffer Area (1.67%).

Seven main landscape features associated with deforestation were identified from a qualitative analysis: towns; existing villages; new villages created by immigrants; military concessions and bases; roads; forest and soil type; and agro-industrial concessions. Remoteness of each landscape sector appears to be a key characteristic, which limits the rate of deforestation. Adequate finance for management is also a necessary characteristic to control deforestation. As a whole, the landscape is becoming less and less remote due to road improvements, leading to increased levels of deforestation over time. Buffer Areas in the Northern Plains landscape may continue to suffer high rates of deforestation in future years.

Improving motivation for maintaining the integrity of conservation areas by generating revenue from sales of carbon credits from such sites may be an effective tool for limiting future deforestation.

Posted in: Northern Plains
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