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As part of its initiative on Tropical Forests for Climate and Development, the Center for Global Development is producing a book entitled Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change. Co-authored by senior fellow Frances Seymour and research fellow Jonah Busch, the book will make the case that tropical forests are essential for both climate stability and sustainable development, that now is the time for action on tropical forests, and that payment-for-performance finance for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) represents a course of action with great potential for success.
Why Forests? Why Now? will draw on original research, synthetic reviews, and national case studies supported by commissioned background papers and CGD’s own research. The content will cover the science, economics, and politics of forest conservation and finance to underscore the urgency, affordability, and feasibility of scaling up funding for reducing deforestation, particularly through performance-based approaches.
The Science – deforestation as a source of climate emissions, development benefits provided by intact forests, and advances in forest monitoring technologies;
The Economics – the affordability of mitigating forest-based emissions compared to other options, contributions of forests to developing economies, and what is known about what drives deforestation and how to stop it.
The Politics – the politics of international cooperation to reduce tropical deforestation, with a particular focus on constituencies for performance-based finance in relevant policy arenas at the international level, within selected rich countries, and within forest countries.
The publication of Why Forests? Why Now? is set for December 2016. This research supports the activities of a CGD Working Group to identify practical ways to accelerate performance-based finance for tropical forests.
Click here for a list of all papers in the series.
Tropical forests have the highest carbon density and cover more land area than forests in any other biome. They also serve a vital role as a natural buffer to climate change ―capturing 2.2–2.7 Gt of carbon per year.
The results of Sunday’s runoff election in Brazil open a new chapter in the country’s fight against deforestation. Dilma Rousseff will have to overcome skepticism that she’s the right woman for the job, in light of perceptions that she privileged development at the expense of conservation during her first term as president.
On Monday October 20, Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) was inaugurated as president of Indonesia. As I wrote at the time of the election in July, Indonesia’s deforestation rate—now the world’s highest—and its oversized effect on global climate emissions are among the burning issues pressing for the attention of the new administration. But perhaps this is the only one that is literally burning.
This paper aims to improve our understanding of how and where global supply-chains link consumers of agricultural and forest commodities across the world to forest destruction in tropical countries. A better understanding of these linkages can help inform and support the design of demand-side interventions to reduce tropical
Imagine a heavy rainstorm, typical in the wet tropics, falling on an intact hillside forest. The forest’s many levels of leaves and branches act like stacked umbrellas, softening the impact of the intense rain. Trees, shrubs, vines, mosses, and litter shield the soil from the direct impact of the rainfall, while roots act like underground nets holding the soil in place. After the storm has ended, roots and animal burrows transport the fallen water into the earth. At the same time trees pump water back into the sky as clouds, cooling the air and sending moisture downwind. Water also runs off overland feeding streams and rivers.
Tropical forests exert a more profound influence on weather patterns, freshwater, natural disasters, biodiversity, food, and human health – both in the countries where forests are found and in distant countries – than any other terrestrial biome.
From the article
But what if you could prove that the forest itself was a potential cash cow, and that leaving it alone might make more money than cutting it down?
That’s the premise of a new report [The Value of Forest Ecosystem Services to Developing Economies] from the Center on Global Development by the economist Katrina Mullan, who quantifies the value of forest ecosystems in an effort to complicate the traditional binary between conservation and development. Her hope is that more people will see the immediate benefits of conservation.
Read the article here