Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

"Green Deserts" or Functional Forests?

This entry originally appeared on blog.cifor.org and was written by Catriona Croft-Cusworth for the Centre for International Forestry Research as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. 

Natural forests support life in complex ways. Forest ecosystems are habitats for animals and humans, they regulate air quality, temperature and carbon cycling, protect soils and water quality, help mitigate climate change, and much more. 

"Planted forests," “composed of trees established through planting and/or through deliberate seeding of native or introduced species,” rarely manage to fully replicate the rich ecosystems of natural forests. But can they provide benefits for the environment and for human well-being? 

New research led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) aims to provide an improved basis for assessing the contribution of planted forests to ecosystem services. In a recent paper in the journal Ecosystem Services, researchers from CIFOR and the University of Melbourne propose a framework for assessing the well-being benefits of planted forests. 

Their findings show that plantations can contribute ecosystem services, and that it is possible to assess these benefits using... Read more on blog.cifr.org.