Primary forests play a significant role in global climate

'Primary forests' are those still dominated by natural processes where industrial land use has yet to impact. They are irreplaceable sanctuaries for much of the world's biodiversity, play a significant role in global climate, and support the livelihoods of indigenous custodians. Only about 9% of the Earth's land surface is primary forest cover. Primary forests store 30-70% more carbon than logged or degraded forests.

View the video from DW/Eco India [02:16] - What are old-growth forests?

See Discussion Paper to UN FAO, March 2021, about "Primary Forests"

The importance of primary forests

Regenerative forest economies

Two primary forest research projects

Types of primary forest

The Griffith Climate Change Response Program is working with national and global partners on two research projects which consider the two main types of primary forests:

  1. Tropical primary forests
  2. Boreal and temperate primary forests

Tropical primary forests are largely in tropical humid forests including Amazon in Brazil and Congo in Africa. Boreal forest is found in a nearly continuous belt across North America and Eurasia.

Both projects aim to:

  • improve the global information base on primary forests
  • examine the benefits, including economic, that arise from their protection
  • identify threats to their ongoing integrity
  • explore policy options for their protection
  • investigate on-ground implementation issues through case studies

Case study areas

The case studies in the two primary forests projects cover:

  • The Carpathian Montane Forest in Europe
  • Equateur in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • The Inland Rainforest in British Columbia in Canada
  • The Kayapo Territory in Brazil
  • Nepal
  • Angara in Russia
  • Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

Tropical Primary Forests and Climate Change

Boreal & Temperate Primary Forests and Climate Change

Griffith Climate Change Response Program