onsdag 17. juni 2009

Session 2:
The role of forests (in a climate change perspective)

Forests in the balance: forests as providers of ecosystem services vs. emissions from deforestation and forest degradation 

Daniel Nepstad, Chief Program Officer, The Environmental Conservation Programs, Moore Foundation, USA

In his presentation, Daniel described some the ecological services provided by forests (with a focus on tropical forests) and went on to evaluate the potential of one service provided by forests—carbon storage—to create large new incentives for forest conservation. The central question he asks is if the value of the carbon in trees is enough to carry a forest conservation agenda?

Daniel described the relationship between forest degradation and climate change in a series of compelling charts and diagrams (see below).

Forests, points out Daniel, are far more than processors of carbon and water and energy. They sustain myriad forms of plants and animals who, themselves, sustain life on the planet. He gave the example of the forests of Costa Rica that contribute significantly (in financial terms) to the local coffee industry by pollinating coffee trees. This is an “ecosystem service” that no one pays for, and that is lost as forests are converted to crop fields and pastures.

Daniel sees REDD as one of the most exciting conservation initiatives in recent times in providings a means of intervening, drastically lowering carbon emissions and buying humanity time to "fix" global warming?

Daniel concluded by saying that REDD is not a panacea, but it is probably the biggest near-term opportunity that we have.

For a more complete summary of Daniel's presentation, click here.

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