13. Conservation of tropical forests

maintaining ecological integrity and resilience

  1. David W. Macdonald5 and
  2. Katherine J. Willis6
  1. Owen T. Lewis1,
  2. Robert M. Ewers2,
  3. Margaret D. Lowman3 and
  4. Yadvinder Malhi4

Published Online: 25 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch13

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

How to Cite

Lewis, O. T., Ewers, R. M., Lowman, M. D. and Malhi, Y. (2013) Conservation of tropical forests, in Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2 (eds D. W. Macdonald and K. J. Willis), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch13

Editor Information

  1. 5

    Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, University of Oxford, UK

  2. 6

    Biodiversity Institute, Oxford Martin School, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

  2. 2

    Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Ascot, UK

  3. 3

    Nature Research Center, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

  4. 4

    Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658765

Online ISBN: 9781118520178

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Keywords:

  • biodiversity;
  • ecological integrity;
  • ecosystem-level processes;
  • resilience;
  • tropical forest conservation

Summary

While acknowledging the critical importance of maintaining large, core areas of tropical forests as free as possible from human interference, this chapter addresses the need for tropical forest conservation efforts in the wider tropical landscape, beyond the boundaries of strictly protected areas. It highlights the need to understand the resilience of tropical forests to anthropogenic perturbations, focusing on ecosystem-level processes, particularly food web changes, ecological cascades, and alterations to ecosystem functions. Next, it reviews empirical evidence for the resilience of tropical forests to different anthropogenic drivers, considers what humans can do to maximize resilience at various scales, and suggests that it may be possible to maintain tropical forest biodiversity by working within the bounds of 'natural' disturbances. Further, it suggests that conservation efforts in the wider tropical landscape may increasingly need to retain functioning and resilient ecosystems, rather than biodiversity per se.