Potential Biodiversity Benefits from International Programs to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Deforestation
Deforestation is the second largest anthropogenic source of carbon dioxide emissions and options for its reduction are integral to climate policy. In addition to providing potentially low cost and near-term options for reducing global carbon emissions, reducing deforestation also could support biodiversity conservation. However, current understanding of the potential benefits to biodiversity from forest carbon offset programs is limited. We compile spatial data on global forest carbon, biodiversity, deforestation rates, and the opportunity cost of land to examine biodiversity conservation benefits from an international program to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation. Our results indicate limited geographic overlap between the least-cost areas for retaining forest carbon and protecting biodiversity. Therefore, carbon-focused policies will likely generate substantially lower benefits to biodiversity than a more biodiversity-focused policy could achieve. These results highlight the need to systematically consider co-benefits, such as biodiversity in the design and implementation of forest conservation programs to support international climate policy.
KeywordsForests Carbon Biodiversity Conservation REDD Priorities
We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Mistra Foundation’s Climate Policy Research Program (Clipore). Thanks also to two anonymous referees for valuable comments.
- Angelsen, A. 2008. Moving ahead with REDD: Issues, options and implications, 156. Bogor: CIFOR.Google Scholar
- Commission of the European Communities. 2008. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Addressing the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, Brussels, COM 645/3. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/com_2008_645.pdf. Accessed 1 Sept 2011.
- Convention on Biological Diversity. 2010. COP 10 Decision X/2, Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=12268. Accessed 1 Sept 2011.
- Food and Agriculture Organization. 2005. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005. Progress towards sustainable forest management. FAO Forestry Paper 147, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.Google Scholar
- Gorte, R.W., and J.L. Ramseur. 2010. Forest carbon markets: potential and drawbacks. Congressional Research Service, 17. CRS Report RL34560.Google Scholar
- Government of Brazil. 2008. National Plan on Climate Change. Interministerial Committee on Climate Change, Decree No. 6263 of November 21, 2007. http://www.mma.gov.br/estruturas/imprensa/_arquivos/96_11122008040728.pdf. Accessed 1 Sept 2011.
- IPCC. 2007. Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. In Intergovernmental panel on climate change, ed. S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor, and H.L. Miller, 996. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/technical-documents/spatial-data. Accessed 12 Oct 2009.
- IUCN and UNEP-WCMC. 2010. The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA): Annual Release. Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC. www.protectedplanet.org. Accessed 11 Dec 2010.
- Keith, H., B.G. Mackey, and D.B. Lindenmayer. 2009. Re-evaluation of forest biomass carbon stocks and lessons from the world’s most carbon-dense forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 11635–11640.Google Scholar
- Kindermann, G.E., I. McCallum, S. Fritz, and M. Obersteiner. 2008a. A global forest growing stock, biomass and carbon map based on FAO statistics. Silva Fennica 42: 387–396.Google Scholar
- Kindermann, G.E., M. Obersteiner, B. Sohngen, J. Sathaye, K. Andrasko, E. Rametsteiner, B. Schlamadinger, S. Wunder, et al. 2008b. Global cost estimates of reducing carbon emissions through avoided deforestation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 10302–10307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Niekisch, M., P. Raven, N.S. Sodhi, O. Venter, and S.L. Pimm. 2009. Biodiversity and REDD at Copenhagen. Current Biology 2009: 974–976.Google Scholar
- Palmer, C., and S. Engel. 2009. Avoided deforestation: Prospects for mitigating climate change. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Parker, L., and J. Blodgett. 2010. Greenhouse gas emissions: Perspectives on the top 20 emitters and developed versus developing nations. Report RL32721, 20. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.Google Scholar
- Republic of Indonesia. 2009. National economic, environment and development study (NEEDS) for climate change Indonesia country study. FINAL REPORT, National Council on Climate Change (NCC) of the Republic of Indonesia, December 2009. http://unfccc.int/files/cooperation_and_support/financial_mechanism/application/pdf/indonesia_needs_final_report.pdf. Accessed 1 Sept 2011.
- Sohngen, B. 2009. Assessing the economic potential for reducing deforestation in developing countries. In Avoided deforestation: Prospects for mitigating climate change, ed. Palmer, C and S. Engel, 258. Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Google Scholar
- UNFCCC. 2008. Report of the Conference of the Parties on its Thirteenth Session, held in Bali from 3 to 15 December 2007 Addendum, Part Two: Decisions Adopted by the Conference of the Parties, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, FCCC/CP/2007/6/Add.1, 14 March 2008. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2007/cop13/eng/06a01.pdf#page=8. Accessed 1 Sept 2011.
- UNFCCC. 2011a. Summary of GHG Emissions for European Union (27). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. http://unfccc.int/files/ghg_data/ghg_data_unfccc/ghg_profiles/application/pdf/eu-27_ghg_profile.pdf. Accessed 8 Sept 2011.
- UNFCCC. 2011b. Summary of GHG Emissions for Germany. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. http://unfccc.int/files/ghg_emissions_data/application/pdf/deu_ghg_profile.pdf. Accessed 8 Sept 2011.
- USGS and NASA. 2009. Global land survey 2005. Sioux Falls, SD: USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS).Google Scholar