Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon emission reduction strategies may undermine tropical biodiversity conservation, conservationists warn

Date:
November 26, 2010
Source:
University of Kent
Summary:
Conservationists have warned that carbon emission reduction strategies such as REDD may undermine, not enhance, long-term prospects for biodiversity conservation in the tropics. Their warning comes only days ahead of the Cancun COP 16 climate change talks.

Conservationists have warned that carbon emission reduction strategies such as REDD may undermine, not enhance, long-term prospects for biodiversity conservation in the tropics.

Their warning comes only days ahead of the Cancun COP 16 climate change talks (Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, 2010).

REDD is a United Nations designed mechanism for carbon emission trading that provides financial compensation to developing countries for improved management and protection of their forest resources. If it works, REDD could strengthen the global fight against climate change, and create an opportunity for carbon-rich tropical countries to protect threatened biodiversity as a co-benefit of maintaining forests and the carbon they store.

Writing in the journal Carbon Balance and Management, a network of conservation scientists, including University of Kent's Dr Matthew Struebig, use data for Indonesia, a species-rich tropical country and the world's third largest source of carbon emissions, to highlight ways in which emission reduction strategies could turn sour for wildlife.

Lead author Dr Gary Paoli of Daemeter Consulting in Indonesia explained: 'Biodiversity and forest carbon are correlated at a global scale but we show that this is not the case at sub-national levels in Indonesia. This creates a trade-off between the emission reduction potential and biodiversity value of different ecosystems. In short, the highest carbon savings are not necessarily located in places with the highest levels of species diversity.'

The authors, from Southeast Asia, Europe and the USA, compiled studies of wildlife, plants, land-cover and carbon emissions to show that carbon-dense peat swamp forests, focal ecosystems for REDD in Indonesia, do not coincide with areas supporting the highest concentrations of threatened biodiversity.

Dr Struebig, who works between Kent's Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) and Queen Mary, University of London, said: 'Peat swamp forests attract the bulk of REDD funds -- they hold around 8 times more carbon than other lowland forests, and provide habitat for high profile species such as orang-utan, tigers and Asian elephants. However, when we look at overall numbers of plants, mammals and birds, especially species of greatest conservation concern, we find that peat forests typically support lower densities and fewer species than other lowland forest types.'

The paper points out that preferential targeting of peatland under REDD could intensify pressures to establish oil palm and paper/pulp plantations in forests that are more important for biodiversity conservation. This problem is not unique to Indonesia, but is a concern throughout the tropics. The authors argue that a regulatory framework is urgently needed to guide implementation of REDD, and recommend three ways to ensure that effective carbon emissions reduction strategies also deliver substantial long-term biodiversity co-benefits in tropical countries -- home to 51 % of the world's 48,170 threatened species.

The authors urge developing countries to prepare their own explicit national targets for ecosystem and species protection across all native ecosystem types. Using these targets, priority ecosystems and threatened species under-represented in the protected area network should be identified. Co-financing from REDD can then be mobilised to redefine acceptable land-use practices within priority areas needed to fill biodiversity conservation gaps. In this way, REDD will offset opportunity costs of foregone development, and ensure that carbon emission reductions deliver biodiversity gains where they are most needed.

Gary Paoli added: 'If such a national planning process was made a pre-requisite for REDD funding, and payments linked to delivery of biodiversity co-benefits, then net positive impacts on biodiversity would be ensured.'

Co-author Dr Erik Meijaard of People and Nature Consulting International commented: 'A target-based approach also respects the sovereignty of countries to prepare their own targets, and fulfils objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, both for recipient (tropical) countries and donor (developed) nations who are signatories to the convention.'

The authors note that much of the groundwork for their recommendations has already been set, but support from national governments and the United Nations will prove critical to the success of REDD and its biodiversity outcomes.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Gary D. Paoli, Philip L. Wells, Erik Meijaard, Mathew J. Struebig, Andrew J. Marshall, Krystof Obidzinski, Aseng Tan, Andjar Rafiastanto, Betsy Yaap, J.W. Ferry Slik, Alexandra Morel, Balu Perumal, Niels Wielaard, Simon Husson, Laura D'Arcy. Biodiversity Conservation in the REDD. Carbon Balance and Management, 2010; 5 (1): 7 DOI: 10.1186/1750-0680-5-7

Cite This Page:

University of Kent. "Carbon emission reduction strategies may undermine tropical biodiversity conservation, conservationists warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101125201446.htm>.
University of Kent. (2010, November 26). Carbon emission reduction strategies may undermine tropical biodiversity conservation, conservationists warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101125201446.htm
University of Kent. "Carbon emission reduction strategies may undermine tropical biodiversity conservation, conservationists warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101125201446.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. 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