Reversing “Empty Forest Syndrome” in Southeast Asia

Long, Barney, Gray, Thomas, Lynam, Antony, Seng, Teak, Laurance, William, Scotson, Lorraine, and Ripple, William (2017) Reversing “Empty Forest Syndrome” in Southeast Asia. National Geographic Voices, 8 February 2017. pp. 1-6.

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[Extract] The diverse tropical forests of Southeast Asia are home to some of the most mysterious and beautiful wildlife species in the world, some of which have only been discovered in the last few decades. Home to species such as the antelope-like Saola (the Asian “unicorn”), which was only discovered in 1992 and that no biologist has seen in the wild, capturing the imagination of scientists, reporters and the public alike. Home to an extensive community of animals small and large, from civets to muntjacs, striped rabbits to Doucs, porcupines to pigs, tortoises to wild cattle.

However, Southeast Asia also holds a higher proportion of globally threatened vascular plant, reptile, bird and mammal species than any other region on the planet. Today, these irreplaceable forests are often harboring the ghosts of these amazing species, victims of a barbaric and widespread hunting technique—the use of homemade and cheap wire snares that catch animals, leaving them trapped, often to suffer for days, before death.

This hunting technique makes no distinction between common and Endangered species and is indiscriminately laying waste to any wildlife species regardless of their size and shape: Saola, Grey-shanked Douc, Southeast Asian Porcupine, Sambar Deer, Marbled Cat, Hog Badger, and the list goes on and on. Imagine walking into the Adirondacks in the northeastern United States and not seeing a single squirrel or raccoon. This idea appropriately has an ominous name: “empty forest syndrome.”

Item ID: 47497
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
Keywords: Asian forests, hunting, poaching, protected areas, snaring, wildlife
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Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2017 04:38
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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