Forest Research for the 21st Century

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Science  13 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5882, pp. 1395
DOI: 10.1126/science.1160329

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Last month the United Nations (UN) concluded a biodiversity conference in Bonn, Germany, where delegates from 191 countries negotiated "access to and sharing of the benefits of the rich genetic resources of the world." Many of these resources reside in forests, which cover 4 billion hectares or 30% of Earth's land. Forests are decreasing at a rate of 7 million hectares annually, mostly in the tropics. How can research encompassing the ecological, social, economic, and political dimensions of forest conservation contribute to reducing forest destruction and maintaining biodiversity, climatic stability, and the livelihoods of the poor, 40 to 50% of whose resources come from forests?