November 13, 2012

Biodiversity and carbon closely linked

Scientific panel finds close links between biodiversity and carbon in a landscape

After a year’s worth of analysis, a global forest expert panel recently came to seven key findings showing a strong link between biodiversity and the carbon content of a landscape.  They also noted a wide array of issues that need to be addressed in relation to reduce emissions from deforestation.

“Our intent with this project was to assess the scientific information published on the link between Biodiversity and Carbon in terms of REDD+ and offer guidance to policy makers designing REDD+ management programs and to the scientific community on knowledge gaps,” explained Alexander Buck of the International Union of Forest Research Organization, who also compared the principles and procedures of GFEP with those of the expert International Panel on Climate Change, coining them the ‘IPCC of forests’.

The panel – which included scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) participated – presented their key findings at the Conference on the Convention on Biological Diversity being held in Hyderabad, India.

Part of their focus was on REDD+ – an international mechanism that aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The mechanism has mainly been discussed in international climate negotiations, particularly where there is interest in developing new policies to provide tropical developing countries with financial incentives to reduce rates of deforestation and forest degradation.

The panel came to a series of main conclusions, some of which are outlined below:

  • Biodiversity is a key determinant of a forests’ ability to provide ecosystem services
  • particularly carbon sequestration and resilience in the face of climate change
  • Forests may be a sink, a storage or a source of carbon depending on how they are managed
  • REDD+ programs must be regionally tailored
  • Social impacts should be considered early on in REDD+ planning and implementation
  • Landscape management is a valuable tool for reconciling socio-economic aspects of REDD+
  • Tenure and property rights must be clear
  • There is a need to harmonize national and local REDD+  with international REDD+ safeguard development


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