Mapping the Climate Change and Biodiversity Impacts of REDD - Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation
New Report Underlines Multiple Benefits but Also new Challenges to Biodiversity-Rich Sites from Possible Copenhagen Climate Deal
Copenhagen, 14 December 2009 - An agreement in Copenhagen to fund reduced emissions from deforestation may generate multiple environmental and economic benefits if investments simultaneously target sites that are both carbon and biodiversity-rich.
But the new report, published today in the journal Conservation Letters, also warns of challenges in countries such as Brazil and parts of East Africa unless safeguards are followed.
This is because funding Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) might also displace and intensify activities such as agriculture into lower carbon but equally biodiversity-rich locales. Such areas include parts of East Africa and Brazil.
The study has involved a wide range of organizations and institutions including the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment at the University of East Anglia; the UN Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge; the Institute for Global and Applied Environmental Analysis (GAEA)in Rio de Janeiro and Stanford University, California.
It is claimed to be the first map-based analysis of the distribution of carbon and biodiversity and indicates that governments face a series of choices on how best to maximize the benefits and minimize the challenges presented by a possible REDD deal at the UN climate convention this week.
The colour maps allow the identification of areas where these double benefits could be highest, which include many of the global biodiversity hotspots.
For example the maps show that the Amazon hosts very high concentrations of both carbon and overall species richness whereas Sumatra and Borneo represent an opportunity to conserve carbon while conserving a high level of threatened species.
If the aim is to conserve high quantities of carbon while also conserving species found nowhere else in the world - so called endemic species - then the island of New Guinea would be one of the top priorities.
The study also identified areas where carbon funding would not solve the problem by itself, but could provide crucial complementary financing to biodiversity initiatives.
Finally it highlights areas that have high value for biodiversity conservation, but are poor or less rich in carbon and could thus be under increased threat if REDD is implemented including the Brazilian Cerrado or the savannahs of the Rift Valley in East Africa.