Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon Trading Proposal May Put Mature Tropical Forests At Risk, Scientists Warn

Date:
August 14, 2007
Source:
Conservation International
Summary:
In an ironic twist, 11 countries that have avoided widespread destruction of their tropical forest are at risk of being left out of an emerging carbon market intended to promote rainforest conservation to combat climate change. These countries contain 20 percent of Earth's remaining tropical forest, including some of the richest ecosystems. A new study warns that "high forest cover with low rates of deforestation" nations could become the most vulnerable targets for deforestation if the Kyoto Protocol and upcoming negotiations on carbon trading fail to include intact standing forest.

In an ironic twist, 11 countries that have avoided widespread destruction of their tropical forest are at risk of being left out of an emerging carbon market intended to promote rainforest conservation to combat climate change.

A study published August 14 in the Public Library of Science Biology journal warns that the "high forest cover with low rates of deforestation" (HFLD) nations could become the most vulnerable targets for deforestation if the Kyoto Protocol and upcoming negotiations on carbon trading fail to include intact standing forest.

The study by scientists from Conservation International (CI), the South African National Biodiversity Institute, and the University of California-Santa Barbara calls for the HFLD countries to receive "preventive credits" under any carbon trading mechanism to provide incentive for them to protect their intact tropical forest. Otherwise, the same market and economic forces that cause deforestation elsewhere will quickly descend on regions that so far have avoided significant loss, the authors say.

Cutting and burning tropical forests releases the atmospheric carbon they store, contributing significantly to global climate change. The HFLD countries contain 20 percent of Earth's remaining tropical forest, including some of the richest ecosystems.

"Given the very large -- and likely still underestimated -- role of tropical deforestation in causing climate change, these forest-rich countries should be at the forefront of worldwide efforts to sequester carbon, rather than being left out entirely," said CI President Russell A. Mittermeier, an author of the study. "With this paper, we hope to highlight this critical issue and put it on the table for future negotiations."

Until now, the Kyoto Protocol and subsequent discussions have focused on carbon credits for new or replanted forests that replace the carbon storage services of destroyed forests. New rules being discussed by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change for implementation subsequent to Kyoto are likely to create a carbon market for countries that reduce their deforestation from levels of recent years.

That would cover countries that have lost large portions of their original tropical forest, as well as those that still have more than half their forest cover but face current high rates of deforestation. In contrast, 11 HFLD countries with more than half their original forest intact and low rates of current deforestation would receive no credits for standing forests.

"The minute that you exclude those countries, their forests lose economic value in the global carbon market, leaving governments with little reason to protect them," said study co-author Gustavo Fonseca of CI and Brazil's Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

The HFLD countries are Panama, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Belize, Gabon, Guyana, Suriname, Bhutan and Zambia, along with French Guiana, which is a French territory. Three of them -- Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana -- comprise much of the Guayana Shield region of the northern Amazon that is the largest intact tract of tropical forest on Earth. In addition, portions of other large non-HFLD countries are in the same situation. For example, although Brazil has four other major ecosystems, the Brazilian Amazon faces a similar circumstance as HFLD countries.

According to the study, preventive credits for HFLD countries at a conservative carbon price of U.S. $10 per ton would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, providing governments with significant economic incentive to protect tropical forests that store atmospheric carbon and supply essential natural benefits for local populations such as clean water, food, medicines and natural resources.

CI believes any carbon credit mechanism should include full representation, participation and consultation by indigenous and local communities of tropical forest regions to ensure that conservation and development programs proceed in accordance with their rights and traditional ways of life as stewards of the crucial ecosystems in which they live.

Along with Fonseca and Mittermeier, the study's other authors are Carlos Manuel Rodriguez and Lee Hannah of CI, Guy Midgley of the Kirstenbosch Research Center at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, and Jonah Busch of the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC-Santa Barbara.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Conservation International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Conservation International. "Carbon Trading Proposal May Put Mature Tropical Forests At Risk, Scientists Warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070814082956.htm>.
Conservation International. (2007, August 14). Carbon Trading Proposal May Put Mature Tropical Forests At Risk, Scientists Warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070814082956.htm
Conservation International. "Carbon Trading Proposal May Put Mature Tropical Forests At Risk, Scientists Warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070814082956.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins