Title: An Accounting Mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests in Developing Countries
Authors: MOLLICONE DaniloFEDERICI SandroACHARD FredericGRASSI GiacomoEVA HughNIR EdwardSCHULZE Ernst-detlefSTIBIG Hans-Jurgen
Publisher: Royal Institute of International Affairs
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC46651
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC46651
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Tropical deforestation is an important issue in the debate over the global carbon cycle and climate change. The release of CO2 due to tropical deforestation can be estimated from three main parameters: the level of tropical deforestation and degradation, the spatial distribution of forest types, and the amount of biomass and soil carbon for different forest types. Our knowledge of the rates of change of tropical forests and the distribution of forest types has greatly improved in the last few years through the use of earth observation technology. At the same time, more information has become available about carbon stocks for different forest types. Using recent figures on rates of net change for the world¿s tropical forest areas and refereed data on biomass, the source of atmospheric carbon from tropical deforestation is estimated to have been between 1.1 ± 0.3 gigatonnes of carbon per year (GtCyr-1) and 1.6 ± 0.6 GtCyr-1 for the 1990s. This estimate includes emissions from conversion of forests and loss of soil carbon after deforestation and emissions from forest degradation. It can be compared with CO2 emissions due to fossil fuel burning, which are estimated to have averaged 6.4 ± 0.4 GtCyr-1 in the 1990s. Reducing emissions from deforestation is therefore crucial in any effort to combat climate change. Reducing deforestation has many other positive aspects, such as preserving biodiversity, maintaining indigenous rights, and potentially bringing resources to local populations. The issue is even more important in the light of predicted future increases in deforestation rates. Between 1990 and 2000, the total area under agricultural or forest use decreased at a rate of 6.9 million hectares a year, dropping from 41.9 percent to 41.3 percent because of conversion to settlements or abandonment of agricultural or forest use (from soil degradation or desertification). This global pattern is the sum of two opposite trends: land area under agricultural use is increasing, and land area under forest use is decreasing. Furthermore, these trends are linked to development, with developed countries decreasing their agricultural land and increasing their forest area, and developing countries doing the opposite. Here we propose an accounting mechanism that includes options for determining global and national baselines of forest conversions. The accounting mechanism builds on recent scientific achievements related to the satellite-observation-based estimation of tropical deforestation rates and their consequences for carbon emissions and the assessment of intact forests. We analyze these scientific and technical achievements in the context of one item in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ¿reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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