Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Strengthening community forest rights is critical tool to fight climate change

Date:
July 24, 2014
Source:
World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)
Summary:
Strengthening community forest rights is an essential strategy to reduce billions of tons of carbon emissions, making it an effective way for governments to meet climate goals, safeguard forests and protect the livelihoods of their citizens, according to a major new report.

Strengthening community forest rights is an essential strategy to reduce billions of tonnes of carbon emissions, making it an effective way for governments to meet climate goals, safeguard forests and protect the livelihoods of their citizens, according to a major new report. The report, called "Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change," is being published jointly by World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). The paper provides the most comprehensive analysis to date linking legal recognition and government protection of community forest rights with reductions in carbon pollution.

"This golden opportunity to address climate change is staring us right in the face. With at least 37 billion tonnes of carbon safely stored in community forests around the world, strengthening community rights is good for the climate and good for people," said Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, WRI. "Every head of government, minister and climate negotiator should pay attention to this important, if often overlooked strategy to address climate change. It's an approach to climate action that should be right up there with REDD+ or increasing energy efficiency."

The report finds that rural communities and indigenous peoples across the world have government-recognized rights to forests containing 37.7 billion tonnes of carbon -- equivalent to 29 times the annual emissions from all passenger vehicles in the world. In total, deforestation and other land uses represents 11 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Using new high-resolution mapping data, the authors analyzed 14 heavily-forested countries, including Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia and found that when governments enhanced and enforced forest rights, communities were more successful at stopping loggers, extractive companies, and settlers from illegally destroying the forests and releasing carbon pollution into the atmosphere.

In Brazil alone, the report finds, strong legal rights could contribute to preventing 27.2 million hectares of deforestation by 2050, translating to 12 billion tonnes of avoided carbon dioxide emissions -- the same as about three years' worth of carbon dioxide emissions from all Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Indeed, the study reveals that deforestation rates inside community forests are dramatically lower than in forests outside those areas. For example:

• In a part of the Mexican Yucatαn, it is 350 times lower;

• In the Guatemalan Petιn, it is 20 times lower;

• In the Brazilian Amazon, it is 11 times lower; and

• In the Bolivian Amazon, it is 6 times lower.

"No one has a stronger interest in the health of forests than the communities that depend on them for their livelihoods and culture," said Andy White, Coordinator of RRI. "Research has shown time and time again that clear and secure property rights for indigenous peoples and local communities have greatly boosted the capacity of countries to achieve national-level forest protection and restoration. It's tragic that this has not yet been fully adopted as a central climate change mitigation strategy. For us to get serious about curbing climate change, we have to get serious about respecting the rights of local communities to the lands they live and depend on."

The analysis finds that governments can implement five key recommendations to maximize the climate mitigation potential from community forests:

1. Provide communities with legal recognition of rights to their forest;

2. Enforce community forest rights such as mapping boundaries and expelling trespassers;

3. Provide technical assistance and training to forest communities to improve sustainable forest use and market access;

4. Engage forest communities in decision-making on investments affecting their forest; and

5. Compensate communities for the climate and other benefits provided by their forest.

"The bottom line is clear: Strengthening community forest rights is a critical policy approach to mitigate global climate change through reduced deforestation and carbon sequestration," said Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Program, WRI. "When it comes to tackling climate change, land rights must be on the list of tools we use."

The report notes that some countries have made significant progress in recognizing the rights of local communities and some REDD+ initiatives are beginning to support this trend. But in addition to pointing to countries that have enjoyed the climate benefits from enforcing community forest rights, the report offers a cautionary note to governments that undermine those rights. Indonesia, for example, the world's second largest emitter of carbon pollution from deforestation and other land uses, legally recognizes only one of approximately 42 million hectares of forests held by communities. Stronger community forest rights could stem the tide of the country's rampant forest loss, mostly due to palm oil expansion.

Report: http://www.wri.org/securingrights


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). "Strengthening community forest rights is critical tool to fight climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724093336.htm>.
World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). (2014, July 24). Strengthening community forest rights is critical tool to fight climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724093336.htm
World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). "Strengthening community forest rights is critical tool to fight climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724093336.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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