Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon Payments Help Protect Threatened Tropical Mammals

Date:
June 5, 2009
Source:
University of Queensland
Summary:
A new report provides compelling evidence that paying to conserve billions of tons of carbon stored in tropical forests could also protect orangutans, pygmy elephants, and other wildlife at risk of extinction. The study is one of the first to offer quantitative evidence linking the drive to reduce carbon emissions from forests with the push to preserve threatened mammal biodiversity.

A new report published June 4 provides compelling evidence that paying to conserve billions of tons of carbon stored in tropical forests could also protect orangutans, pygmy elephants, and other wildlife at risk of extinction.
Credit: Copyright Eric Gevaert

The University of Queensland has found paying to preserve carbon stored in forests could protect endangered wildlife such as Indonesia's orangutans.

UQ PhD student Oscar Venter is the lead author of the new study published in the journal Conservation Letters.

The study concentrated on 3.3 million hectares of tropical forest in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), which is home to orangutans, elephants and other endangered species.

Based on prices now being paid for carbon dioxide (CO2), the study compared the revenue that could be derived from protecting the forest and avoiding carbon emissions to the revenue that would be derived if the forest was converted to oil palm plantations.

Mr Venter said the study found that carbon payments, in the form of payments for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) could compete with oil palm at carbon prices of $10 to $33 per tonne of CO2.

if CO2 credits could be sold for US $10 to $33 per tonne, conserving the forest would be more profitable than clearing the land for oil palm. In addition, forest conservation would prevent 2.1 billion tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere and preserve the habitat of some of the world's most threatened mammal species living in these forests.

The study determined that 40 of Kalimantan's 46 threatened mammals occur within areas slated for oil palm development. Further, planned oil palm plantations in peat forest areas, where carbon is most abundant (and therefore cheapest) contain almost twice the mammal species density as more expensive areas. In other words, there is a synergy between areas with high levels of biodiversity and areas with an abundance of forest carbon.

Mr Venter said if REDD was only used to protect the most carbon rich areas, which would still be a great win for forest conservation, the price of CO2 would drop dramatically, down to as low as $2 per tonne.

“What excites me most about our results is that those areas that are particularly good for carbon and therefore most likely to receive REDD protection, also house very high levels of threatened mammals, almost twice the average number,” he said.

“Countries with tropical forests, such as Indonesia, are pushing hard to develop. Part of this development involves clearing forests to make room for agriculture.

“To them this makes sense, standing forests have had no value in the past, you can't sell orangutans and elephants on conservation markets, they don't exist. But carbon markets do exist and they traded US $126 billion in 2008.

“If REDD is successful at harvesting some of these funds to protect tropical forests by giving them value, this could fundamentally change conservation in these countries, and provide benefits for mammals at a scale that we've never before seen.”

Furthermore, the study discovered forest conservation in Kalimantan would prevent 2.1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions.

The collaborative study includes researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), one of 15 centres supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), as well as scientists from UQ, The Nature Conservancy and the Great Ape Trust of Iowa.

The proposals to use carbon payments to conserve forests is expected to be highlighted at The United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for December in Copenhagen.

Mr Venter said he was working with The Nature Conservancy in Indonesia to help plan for and implement REDD in areas that are slated for oil palm, as well as logging concessions and forest-protected areas.

“By showing how much value could come from carbon payments, it becomes easier to demonstrate the benefits of shifting oil palm expansion to areas that have no forests or only have degraded forests, which contain less carbon and are less biologically diverse,” he said.

CIFOR Director General Frances Seymour said REDD offered important win-win opportunities for climate and biodiversity protection.

“Ultimately, our goal is to help fashion an agreement in Copenhagen that will allow tropical forests to become a part of a more comprehensive climate agreement – one that will reduce emissions as well as produce co-benefits,” Mr Seymour said.

“There is already a good case to be made for ending the exclusion of existing forests in the next climate pact. This new evidence shows just one of the many benefits that a REDD accord could have.”


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Venter et al. Carbon payments as a safeguard for threatened tropical mammals. Conservation Letters, 2009; 2 (3): 123 DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00059.x

Cite This Page:

University of Queensland. "Carbon Payments Help Protect Threatened Tropical Mammals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604181251.htm>.
University of Queensland. (2009, June 5). Carbon Payments Help Protect Threatened Tropical Mammals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604181251.htm
University of Queensland. "Carbon Payments Help Protect Threatened Tropical Mammals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604181251.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

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
Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) A giant wall of dust slowly moves north over the Phoenix area after a summer monsoon thunderstorm. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) A rare baby Lemur is among several baby animals getting their public debut at a Cleveland zoo. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
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