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Beyond Copenhagen: Making Forest Conservation Credible

This is a joint posting with Dan Hammer.

The climate negotiations in Copenhagen have galvanized the climate evangelists and skeptics alike; the talks, some say, are merely a front to assuage the general public, and will only divert attention from the scientific imperative to curb global carbon emissions. But one benefit of the talks has already been realized: They have catalyzed a flurry of activity, especially in the domain of monitoring and evaluation. Last week in Copenhagen, Google.org announced that it will provide free access to raw satellite imagery to facilitate global monitoring of deforestation, which may account for 15% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Google.org has partnered with two leading forest scientists to host their image-parsing algorithms online, so that experts in developing countries can produce more accurate maps of forest cover loss from satellite images.

Nathalie's Story: Saving the Mountain Gorillas, and the Planet

GorillaMy friend Nathalie Johnson is one of my personal heroes. For the better part of two decades, she has worked tirelessly at the World Bank to conserve biodiversity while promoting sustainable livelihoods for the rural people of Africa. Fiercely proud of being a field biologist in an institution dominated by economists, Nathalie has turned out to be one of the finest applied economists I know.