New carbon maps to boost biodiversity

New carbon maps to boost biodiversity

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Nagoya, Japan: New maps have been developed for Cambodia; Jiangxi Province in China; Ecuador; Honduras; Nigeria and Tanzania. They pinpoint places where investments in carbon can contribute to community livelihoods and wider conservation goals.

The aim is to support international efforts to conserve forests in order to combat climate change and boost biodiversity. But in a way that delivers other benefits including conservation of economically-important ecosystems linked with water, fertile soils and other crucial services.

Under the UN-REDD Programme, UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is expecting to do further work for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia. UNEP-WCMC’s work is being supported through two streams of funding: the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and the UN-REDD Programme.

The maps, being compiled by a partnership led by the UNEP-WCMC, are overlaying the carbon held in the vegetation and soils of a country’s terrestrial ecosystems with other key features.

These include population densities; economic activities such as honey and gum production; the location of existing Protected Areas and biodiversity.

Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), governments are negotiating a mechanism to provide payments for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus additional forest “activities” (REDD+), with the aim of halving deforestation by 2020.

It is estimated that currently close to 18% of greenhouse gas emissions-equivalent to around six Gigatonnes (Gt) of C02- are linked with land use change, mainly through forest loss. In 2004, this amounted to more greenhouse gas emissions than those of the transport sector.

Source: UNEP