By John Parrotta (Deputy Coordinator, IUFRO Division 8) and Lawal Marafa (Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee)
Dealing with uncertainties
REDD+ (reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries) is an evolving mechanism for climate change mitigation under continued debate within and outside of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While it has the potential to realize its primary climate change mitigation objective, there is considerable uncertainty regarding its actual or potential impacts on biodiversity, forests and the livelihoods of people in the tropical and sub-tropical forested landscapes where REDD+ implementation is envisaged.
Bosques, Biodiversidad y Servicios Ecosistémicos / Forests, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Session moderator: Bryan Finegan, CATIE, Costa Rica, IUFRO Task Force Coordinator
Thursday, 13 June 2013, 14:00-16:00 (Chirripó)
Find more information on the IUFRO Task Force Forests, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services:
The session offered insight into functional ecology, with emphasis on climatic conditions along elevation gradients showing that biodiversity decreases with increasing altitude. It also dealt with the provision of ecosystem services in relation with biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential for pest damage resistance, for example. Source dilution, chemical signals and activity of natural enemies are identified as being essential for ensuring low pest damage. With increased source dilution, pests are less likely to establish themselves in a diverse setting. With increased chemical signals associated with diverse flora, pests are less likely to find their favourite source. And with a high number of natural enemies, whose presence is correlated with high biodiversity, pests are less likely to cause damage. Hence, diversification on a stand/landscape level is needed to ensure the provision of forest ecosystem services.
Plant conservation in Southeast Asia was another topic. In Malaysia, for example, efforts to preserve plants have become a prevalent goal for scientists. Diversity is vast, and since 40 – 50 % of the preserved species are endemic, 24% of which are either endangered (EN) or critically endangered (CR), conservation is a central goal. While the pleas of scientists are being heard in some cases, legal frameworks are needed to protect these species.
A presentation on the carbon sequestration potential for complex mosaic forest landscapes in western Mexico aimed at addressing shifting cultivation, framed in the carbon emission discourse. With shifting cultivation, carbon is released to the atmosphere, adding to GHG concentrations. However, the study showed that on a landscape level, there are no net carbon dioxide emissions, as the carbon sequestration rate of forest re-growth compensates for the carbon emission from shifting cultivation.
The presentation entitled “Native forest cover increase: drivers and implications on ecosystem services”, focused on why some areas in the Piracicaba river basin were allowed to reforest. Satellite imagery helped determine deforestation and reforestation from 1990 – 2010. Having preselected variables, the results demonstrate that natural reforestation occurs when slopes exceed 30%, when water proximity is less than 100 m, when annual rainfall exceeds 1400 mm, when elevation is lower than 400 m below sea level or more than 800 m above sea level, and when vicinity to towns is more than 7 km.
The final paper focused on Chakras, forestry systems that are employed by indigenous peoples in the Amazon. Plant composition in Chakras is heterogeneous; they provide multiple sources of food, are biodiverse and function as stores of carbon. The presented study demonstrated that in Chakras, fauna is more diverse, carbon storage is higher in both biomass and necromass than in comparable Cocoa plantations.
Presentations in this session:
Bosques lluviosos tropicales, biodiversidad y servicios ecosistémicos en la era de cambio global; nuevas perspectivas desde la ecología functional (Bryan Finegan, CATIE, Costa Rica)
Forest biodiversity and resistance to pest damage. (Eckehard Brockerhoff, Scion, New Zealand)
Challenges in Developing Practical Plant Conservation Strategy in SE Asia. (Su See Lee, FRIM, Malaysia)
Carbon sequestration potential for complex mosaic forest landscapes in western Mexico. (Lucia Morales Barquero, Bangor University, UK)
Native forest cover increase: drivers and implications on ecosystem services. (Paulo Molin, Laboratorio de Hidrología Florestal, Brazil)
Variación en el almacenamiento de carbono, conservación de la biodiversidad y productividad en dos sistemas productivos, comparados con bosques primarios en la Amazonia ecuatoriana. (Bolier Torres Navarrete, Universidad Estatal Amazónica, Ecuador)
What REDD+ looks like on the ground: evidence from the Amazon and beyond
Moderator: Niels Elers Koch, IUFRO President
Thursday, 13 June 2013, 08:00 – 10:00 (Santa Rosa 2)
Agricultural expansion has been identified as a key driver of deforestation in developing countries. The IPCC estimated that carbon dioxide emissions, as a consequence of deforestation, amounted to 20% of all anthropogenically induced carbon dioxide emissions in the 1990s. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+), has been proclaimed an environmental policy instrument that could potentially provide mitigative benefits for net carbon emissions and biodiversity degradation.
In the session entitled “What REDD+ looks like on the ground: evidence from the Amazon and beyond”, leading scientists addressed the relationship between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people, as well as experiences with the operationalization of REDD+ in Latin America.
The Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP), which is coordinated by IUFRO, presented a global assessment report on REDD+, which consolidates the research of more than 50 leading scientists. The report constitutes a comprehensive analysis of the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity, forest management and REDD+.
The assessment report proposes that biodiversity is paramount, as a prerequisite for providing ecosystem services. In the face of disturbance regimes such as climate change, ecosystem resilience, a product of biodiversity, ensures ecosystem service provision.
Moreover, a successful REDD+ implementation, that achieves mitigative net carbon emissions and ensures biodiversity provision, requires, in conjuncture with the implementation, the pursuit of social objectives by securing tenure rights and local engagement. Only when tenure and property rights are clearly defined can a REDD+ implementation be effective.
The session also included presentations on a global comparative study entitled “What REDD+ looks like on the ground: Carried out by CIFOR”. The study, which is t largest project ever undertaken by CIFOR, aims to provide scientific insights on how to ensure that REDD+ measures meet the three “E’s”; Effectiveness, Efficiency, Equity. As the first phase of the study has been completed, the findings of four cases were presented during the session. For more detailed information please visit the CIFOR webpage.
The Global Forest Expert Panel report can be downloaded at www.iufro.org/science/gfep
Presentations in this session:
Understanding relationships between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people: the key to achieving REDD+ objectives (John Parrotta, US Forest Service, USA)
What REDD+ looks like on the ground (Amy Duchelle)
Smallholder typology at a REDD+ project site in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon. (Marina Cromberg, CIFOR, Brazil)
Analyzing payments for environmental services as a way to improve social, economic and environmental resilience in rural settlements in northwestern Mato, Grosso, Brazil. (Raissa Guerra, University of Florida, Brazil)
Conservation transfers, livelihoods and land use: the case of Bolsa Floresta, Amazonas, Brazil (Amy Duchelle and Kim Bakkegaard)
Livelihoods, land use, land cover change and the implications for REDD+ in Brazil nut concessions in the Peruvian Amazon. (Valerie Garrish, CIFOR)
Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives
Forests harbour a major proportion of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and provide a wide range of vitally important ecosystem services – including carbon sequestration and storage. Deforestation and forest degradation continue to erode biodiversity and the capacity of forest ecosystems to help mitigate climate change and provide the goods and services that sustain livelihoods and human well-being locally, and globally. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a proposed mechanism which has the potential to realise its primary objective – climate change mitigation – with variable impacts, positive and negative, on biodiversity, forests and people. REDD+ is complex, its proposed activities and implementation mechanisms not yet clearly defined, and therefore surrounded by uncertainty. Because of its high relevance to climate change mitigation, the conservation and sustainable use of forests and their biological diversity, the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+ was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests in December 2011 to carry out this assessment.
The Expert Panel included 24 scientists and other experts from a variety of biophysical and social science disciplines relevant to the topics covered in this assessment report. An additional 18 contributing authors added their expertise to the assessment. Each chapter was prepared by a team of Lead Authors and Contributing Authors led by one or more Coordinating Lead Authors. A full draft of the report and its individual chapters was peer-reviewed prior to its completion. The results of this voluntary collaboration between January and October 2012 are presented in the six inter-related chapters comprising this book.
This assessment report evaluates the implications of forest and land management interventions envisaged under REDD+ in a multidimensional and integrated fashion. It summarises the most current scientific literature that sheds light on the relationships between forest biodiversity and carbon (and other ecosystem services), how these complex relationships may be affected by management activities implemented to achieve REDD+ objectives, the potential synergies and tradeoffs between and among environmental and socio-economic objectives, and their relationship to governance issues. Based on the main findings of the assessment (summarised in Chapter 6), a policy brief entitled ‘REDD+, Biodiversity and People: Opportunities and Risks’ has been prepared especially for policy- and decision-makers.
The full report is formally presented at Forest Day 6 on 2 December during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Doha, Qatar (26 November-7 December, 2012).
The report, the policy brief and a press release – New Study Suggests Global Pacts Like REDD Ignore Primary Causes of Destruction of Forests – are available for download.
Report and Policy Brief: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/biodiv-forman-redd-panel/report/
For more information about the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+, please visit: