Deforestation environmental damage destruction of rainforest (stock image).Credit: © Richard Carey / Fotolia
Widely hailed as a renewable natural resource, tropical timber from old-growth tropical forests is selectively logged worldwide at an unprecedented scale.
But research from the University of East Anglia reveals that these sources of timber are far from sustainable or entirely environmentally friendly.
A study published in PLOS ONE reveals that once prime tropical hardwoods -- such as Brazilian cedars, ipe (Brazilian walnut), and rosewood -- have been logged, they do not grow back to commercial levels and are at risk from disappearing altogether.
Lead author Dr Vanessa Richardson, from UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, said: "Slow growing and commercially valuable species of all kinds have been overexploited over the course of human history -- just look at the whaling industry or fisheries.