Moderator: Xiaoquan Zhang
Tuesday, 25 October 2016, 10:30-12:30 (Room 305)
During the past 15 years, the rapid expansion of fossil fuels usage has raised global greenhouse gas emissions to the highest levels to date. This has led to a rise in surface temperatures and a significant increase in climate-related risks, including the loss of sea ice in the artic ocean, reduction of mountain glaciers, sea level rise, loss of endangered species, to name but a few.
In urban territories, solar energy and heat are absorbed to a greater extent than in rural areas, thus reducing the evapotranspiration and creating warmer environments. Consequently, the energy demand for cooling is expected to grow strongly with climate change. However, in many cities there is a potential for cooling urban microclimates through adding vegetation and trees and greening roofs and city areas. This will not only help to save energy, it will also be beneficial to the health and quality of life of city dwellers. Read more…
The project, a joint undertaking by four research and five civil society organizations from Europe and Latin America, was initiated in 2012 and is being financed by the European Union for a four-year period.
Its overall objective is to develop ecosystem-based strategies for adaptation to climate change in three Latin American Model Forests – in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. Read more…
Forests, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: Charting a new research agenda
By Peter Dewees, Forest Advisor, World Bank
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment defines ecosystem services as the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. And ecosystem themselves are, speaking in economic terms, an asset, while their services would represent the flow of benefits. So paying for ecosystem services, once the benefits have been valued, has become a topic of interest especially with governments.
Ecosystem services are closely related to poverty alleviation, but it might be just a conventional wisdom to think that the deterioration of ecosystem services automatically leads to an aggravation of poverty. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that human wellbeing has been increasing while the environment and ecosystem services are declining. The Human Development Index illustrates this situation. So what are the underlying causes for this disconnect?
It might be that we are measuring the wrong things and disregard important factors, e.g. the time lag between the decline of ecosystems and the impact.
With regard to forests, global forest cover is declining and forest degradation is increasing for many reasons, yet in some rural landscapes tree numbers are growing. For the farmers, trees are important in many ways. In countries like Kenya, for example, they serve as field boundaries. Trees on farms can increase productivity and thus increase household incomes, they also help build resilience due to diversification of species. Trees on farms can build soil carbon.
So, incorporating trees in land management strategies is an important contribution to climate change mitigation. Consequently, what is really needed is to put in place policies to create incentives for better landscape management. Policies need to be informed by good data, and this is where research comes into the picture and the focus should be on fully recognizing the complexity of landscapes.
The data required should fulfil a set of criteria, of course. They need to be representative, suited for being aggregated, up-to-date, policy relevant and address the right questions.
In conclusion, Dewees particularly points out two research areas that should feature more prominently and deliver good data:
a) The role of household environment income with respect to productivity and consumption; risk and vulnerability; and equality;
b) Policy and public finance with regard to how to support farmer based adaptation and how to identify other points of entry such as social safety nets.
Jose J Campos, Director General, CATIE, took centre stage once again giving an inspiring presentation entitled, “Climate smart territories- fostering production, resilience and reduced emissions through socially inclusive land management.” He opened by saying that it is important to think and to work on the territorial level. We should strive to optimize the goods and services in a territory, and to craft a vision with the different players in a territory. It is possible to diversify the economy and recover forest coverage, and noted that countries such as South Korea, and Finland are already doing so.
He stressed what is needed is collective actions from stakeholders; to give a positive result in a territory and ensure that we can improve our landscapes. He noted that this will take indigenous knowledge, new technologies, increased research and time, and it is important not to be spontaneous in how we approach the problems.
Key messages from his presentation include:
- Global challenges increasingly threaten human security; climate, food, water, energy, etc.
- System approaches (livelihoods, territorial, sustainable production and value chains) could effectively manage synergies and trade-offs among global challenges.
- There is a need for collective action through effective local governance and co-management of natural resources.
- “Climate smart technologies” are a tool that links top=down and bottom-up actions for collective impact.
He continued to explain that we do not need to reinvent the wheel. We need to find territories and existing projects to use as a model. He finished by saying that the key to this is in future professionals and in new interdisciplinary science. He stated there is a need to link students to ongoing development initiatives through fieldwork and case studies, to link their education to research, to local development processes and their contributions to society. If we work together we can create a virtuous circle for inclusive and sustainable human well-being.
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: