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Climate Action 2010-2011

Redd, Sustainable Forest

Redd, Sustainable Forest Management and Agriculture Increased average temperatures and milder winters in temperate and boreal zones will likely increase the range of forest pests such as the pine bark beetle that has decimated large areas of Canada’s spruce forests. Forests are also vulnerable to the extreme weather events that are predicted to increase in frequency and severity with climate change. For example, in 2007, Hurricane Felix flattened swaths of tropical forest in Nicaragua. Tree species with limited distributions are particularly ill-equipped to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. The pace of global warming is likely to outstrip the ability of tree species to migrate to newly-created habitats at different latitudes and altitudes as climate change advances. Perhaps most alarming is the possibility of large-scale conversions of ecosystems that could be induced by global warming exacerbated by human activity. Some models suggest that the humid forests of the Amazon basin could be gradually converted to savannah grasslands through repeated cycles of drying and burning. For all of these reasons, forests need to be included in national adaptation strategies, both as a sector that can help other sectors adapt, as well as a sector in need of adaptation assistance in its own right. As a general principle, any measures that preserve the integrity of forest ecosystems will improve their ability to adapt to climate change. Maintenance of genetic diversity – both within and between species – will also serve to increase the options for adaptation. Specific forest management interventions can include use of reduced impact logging techniques, fire prevention, and silvicultural practices that support conservation of the genetic diversity of forest species. Forest management: not just a question of carbon The newly appreciated role of forests in the mitigation of climate change has generated a new constellation of funding and political attention at national and global levels. Initiatives under the rubric of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) are now dominating global discussions of forest management. The overall impact of such initiatives on the conservation of forest biodiversity is likely to be positive in that maintaining forests as forests serves both climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation objectives. However, the extent of those co-benefits, and the management of some associated risks, will depend on the design specifics of the REDD+ interventions. One risk is that managing forests for carbon alone will simply displace deforestation and degradation pressures to other forest areas that might be relatively carbon-poor but also relatively species-rich. Efforts to control such ‘leakage’ at national and international levels are thus a critical component of REDD+ strategies. Another risk is that, depending on how forests are defined, biodiverse natural forests or other ecosystems such as savannahs could be replaced with monoculture plantations. REDD+ interventions could also result in impoverishment of local incomes if local people’s access to forest resources is restricted and rights to share in REDD+ benefits not respected. Accordingly, REDD+ strategies must be accompanied by the rigorous enforcement of social and environmental safeguards. | 140 | Biodiversity is the essence of the many benefits provided by forests. The continued supply of products – from fuelwood to timber to bushmeat – and sustained provision of the less-appreciated ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, pollination and hydrological regulation, depend on the complex web of species that constitute a forest. Forests are threatened by deforestation and degradation, defaunation, and climate change. Properly designed REDD+ initiatives can ensure that forests serve both mitigation and adaptation objectives, conserve biodiversity and its multiple benefits by providing incentives to maintain forests as forests. Frances Seymour is Director-General of CIFOR, an international organisation with headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia. At CIFOR, she has led the formulation and initial implementation of a new strategy for the organisation focused on six priority research domains. She is a co-author of the CIFOR report ‘Do Trees Grow on Money?’ and contributor to ‘Moving Ahead with REDD and Realizing REDD+’. Prior to CIFOR, Ms. Seymour founded and directed the Institutions and Governance Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, DC. Robert Nasi is the Director of the Forest and Environment program at CIFOR. He has been working in the fields of tropical forest ecology and management for over 30 years and has published more than 150 scientific pieces on the subject. Terry Sunderland is a Senior Scientist with CIFOR’s Forests and Livelihoods programme, and leads the research domain ‘Managing trade-offs between conservation and development at the landscape scale’. Prior to joining CIFOR, Terry was based in Central Africa for many years. Terry holds a Ph.D. from University College London. CIFOR is a nonprofit, global facility dedicated to advancing human wellbeing, environmental conservation and equity. We conduct research that enables more informed and equitable decision making about the use and management of forests in less-developed countries. Our research and expert analysis help policy makers and practitioners shape effective policy, improve the management of tropical forests and address the needs and perspectives of people who depend on forests for their livelihoods. Our multidisciplinary approach considers the underlying drivers of deforestation and degradation which often lie outside the forestry sector: forces such as agriculture, infrastructure development, trade and investment policies and law enforcement. Kristie Maiden, Executive Officer Center for International Forestry Research Jalan CIFOR, Bogor, Barat 16115 Indonesia Tel: +62 8622 6222 Email: k.maiden@cgiar.org Website: www.cifor.cgiar.org www.climateactionprogramme.org