Issue compiled and edited by Yadvinder Malhi, Stephen Adu-Bredu, Rebecca Asare, Simon Lewis and Philippe Mayaux
The African tropics contain the second largest area of tropical rainforest in the world, accounting for roughly 30% of global rainforest cover, the lush green heart of an otherwise generally dry continent. These rainforests have global significance and value as reservoirs of biodiversity, as stores and sinks of atmospheric carbon, as regulators of flow of mighty rivers, as sources of moisture to the atmosphere and engines of the global atmospheric circulation, as a key component of the Earth system and its biogeochemical cycles, and as providers of resources and ecosystem services to local communities and the region’s nations. They also have a unique and particular history of changes in climate and human pressure, and face a range of contemporary pressures. Over the 21st century, the African rainforest realm has the potential to witness massive change, both through an expansion of deforestation, hunting and logging, and through the effects of global climate change.
This thematic issue presents a multi-disciplinary perspective on the nature and ecology of the African rainforest biome, includes several commissioned new analyses and syntheses, and examines their past history, current pressures and future threats to this biome.
This issue developed from a meeting held at the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests in January 2012. The Editors would like to thank the Waterloo Foundation for funding the conference and for providing funding to make many of the papers Open Access, and the Oxford Martin School for supporting the meeting.
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