Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming 
Forests: A Pivotal Player 
BLC, 22 Nov 2014 
Mark Leighton 
Program in Sus...
Restoration Ecology 
(e.g., Nature (2009) 
A force to fight global warming 
Natural ecosystems and biodiversity must be ma...
Tropical rainforest deforestation greatest source forest CO2 emissions…
Very uncertain future for world’s forests and net storage vs. emissions
Landscape-scale forests are essential for conserving biodiversity and environmental 
services, but are poorly represented ...
100 
90 
80 
70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
20 
10 
0 
0-300m 300-500m 500-1000m >1000m 
Protected 
Conversion 
Production 
Kalimanta...
Percentage of 2008 Kalimantan Forest 
Cover by Elevation and Forest Zoning 
70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
20 
10 
0 
0-300m 300-500m...
Selectively-logged 
forests: 
• Spp-individual 
curves similar to 
unlogged 
• Very few 
species become 
locally extinct
Natural Forest Management 
(NRM) 
• Selective felling of commercial trees 
• Growth of “adolescent” trees in 
residual sta...
Carbon Sequestration in Sabah’s 
Lowland Forests under Reduced Impact Logging 
(Pinard & Putz, Biotropica 1995) 
• Highly ...
Hopes for improved forest management & carbon storage 
- Incorporates SFM practices, environmental services & social justi...
New opportunities have emerged to designate and protect landscape-scale 
forests by engaging the private sector in identif...
HCV Assessments for palm oil, Pulp & Paper & other industries 
Industry incentive: reduce criticism & green marketing adva...
Goal of the HCV Process 
Maintain or enhance High Conservation Values 
(in a management unit or area) 
Consultation 
Ident...
The 6 High Conservation Values 
HCV 1 Areas with concentrations of biodiversity 
HCV 2 Large intact natural landscapes 
HC...
Sustaining Sumatra’s 
peat swamp forests 
•6 blocks, > 2 million ha total 
•Annual GHG emissions from 
deforestation = 1/2...
July 19, 2006 
Asia Pulp & Paper’s 2005 
concessions in east-central Sumatra 
17
HCVF assessment of APP 
pulp & paper concession at 
Pulau Muda (Smartwood) 
(cross-hatched are HCVF) 
Connection to 
Kerum...
Environmental values provided by forests 
• Conservation of biodiversity 
• Maintenance of hydrological cycle: rainfall, f...
Land claims inside Concession
Some relevant points for goal of restoring soil carbon (?) 
• Certified product branding can simplify message 
• Partner w...
Mark Leighton - Forests: A Pivotal Player
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Mark Leighton - Forests: A Pivotal Player

289 views

Published on

Mark Leighton - Forests: A Pivotal Player
From Biodiversity for a Livable Climate conference: "Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming"
Saturday November 22nd, 2014

Published in: Environment
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Mark Leighton - Forests: A Pivotal Player

  1. 1. Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming Forests: A Pivotal Player BLC, 22 Nov 2014 Mark Leighton Program in Sustainability & Environmental Management Harvard University Extension •Carbon Sequestration in Secondary (Regenerating) Forests •High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments as forest conservation tool to engage industry and product supply chain
  2. 2. Restoration Ecology (e.g., Nature (2009) A force to fight global warming Natural ecosystems and biodiversity must be made a bulwark against climate change, not a casualty of it, argue Will R. Turner, Michael Oppenheimer and David S. Wilcove. THE BENEFITS OF BIODIVERSITY In the tortured history of climate-change negotiations, enlightened thinking has trans-lated into positive action all too rarely. But governments have recently seen the light on a crucial issue: they have recognized the vital role that intact natural ecosystems have in limiting the build-up of atmospheric greenhouse gases. When delegates convene in Copenhagen next month to strengthen the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an initiative to preserve the world’s forests to store and sequester carbon will take centre stage. Reducing emissions from deforesta-tion and forest degradation (REDD) should give developing countries the opportunity to benefit financially by preserving their forests, either through direct payments or by allowing them to market the carbon stored in uncut trees. Its backers hope that with sufficient funding REDD could substantially slow rates of deforestation, especially in the tropics. REDD is just one of many possible ways to exploit the potential of natural ecosystems to slow climate change and lessen its effects on people. Natural habitats are a hugely valuable tool in the fight against global warming. Use them wisely and they could save many lives and vast sums of money in the decades to come. Abuse them, and much of Earth’s biodiversity could be lost, along with the fight against climate change. Urgent action is needed to understand how best to exploit this promise and develop mech-anisms that can be woven into the practices of governments, corporations, communities and institutions worldwide. To achieve such an integrated approach means fighting a host of powerful short-term politi-cal and economic interests. The carbon mar-kets global biogeochemical cycles. The oceans alone sequester about 2 gigatonnes of carbon a year. Reducing deforestation and forest degrada-tion rates would slash global emissions by up to 1 gigatonne of carbon a year, more than the emissions of all passenger cars combined. Restoring the world’s marginal and degraded lands to natural habitats could sequester an additional 0.65 gigatonnes annually. The second reason has to do with practicality: the maintenance and restoration of natural habitats are among the cheapest, safest and easiest solutions at our disposal in the effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and pro-mote adaptation to unavoidable changes (see graphic). The basic materials already exist — so there is no need for technological development. Indeed, ecosystem restoration (for example, replanting forest on previously cleared land) may remain for several decades the only realis-tic The maintenance and restoration of natural habitats are among the cheapest, safest and easiest solutions that could aid the e ort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and promote adaptation to unavoidable climate change. large-scale mechanism for removing carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere2. Natural protection Environmental carbon storage is worth tril-lions of dollars to the world’s economies, yet it is only one of nature’s services. Natural eco-systems will save lives and sustain livelihoods in myriad ways as Earth’s climate changes3. For example, healthy mangroves, reefs and wetlands can protect people and property in coastal and inland communities even as climate change threat-ens to increase tropical cyclone activity. A cyclone in Orissa, India, in 1999 would probably have killed three times as many coastal residents if mangrove forests had not buffered their villages4. Even at current storm levels, coastal wetlands in the United States least capacity to cope with climate change. As important as these services are, what remains to be discovered may be more valu-able still. Three decades ago, few imagined that the carbon stored in natural systems would become crucial for combating climate change. Today, enzymes from the gut of a marine crus-tacean (Limnoria quadripunctata), a type of gribble, show promise in breaking down agri-cultural waste products for biofuels, potentially reducing greenhouse-gas emissions without competing for agricultural land or threatening natural habitats6. If a promising biotechnology can emerge from a common woodlouse-like creature that lives on the underside of a busy British pier, what untapped potential — the ‘option value’ of biodiversity — might lie in the world’s wildernesses? One area where this untapped innovation could prove particu-larly valuable is agriculture. When changes in precipitation and temperature start to test the physiological limits of current crops, farmers could benefit from wild relatives and novel cultivars better suited to the new conditions. The danger is that we will overlook these benefits in natural systems or, worse, lose them. Vast areas of wilderness and undevel-oped land are already falling to human abuse, either directly via habitat destruction or indi-rectly through the effects of climate change. One-fifth of all vertebrates are now threatened with extinction7, and habitat destruction is esti-mated to cost $2 trillion–5 trillion annually in lost ecosystem services such as the provision of water and carbon storage, vastly more than the cost of safeguarding those services. Halting this decline requires identifying and securing key intact ecosystems and the climate services they provide, restoring lost or degraded ones, and limiting future losses, all in partnership with the communities that need “Climate change is seen as one problem for nature and another for people. This must stop.” ! "#$"%&' ( ")*
  3. 3. Tropical rainforest deforestation greatest source forest CO2 emissions…
  4. 4. Very uncertain future for world’s forests and net storage vs. emissions
  5. 5. Landscape-scale forests are essential for conserving biodiversity and environmental services, but are poorly represented in the existing network of Protected Areas Gunung Palung National Park, Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) Landscape-scale: -Large, contiguous -Ecosystems -Habitat diversity -Mitigate climate change risk -Entire watersheds Borneo
  6. 6. 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0-300m 300-500m 500-1000m >1000m Protected Conversion Production Kalimantan Forest Loss 1999-2008 by Elevation and Forest Zoning
  7. 7. Percentage of 2008 Kalimantan Forest Cover by Elevation and Forest Zoning 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0-300m 300-500m 500-1000m >1000m Source: SPOT Veg – SARvision Protected (HL/HSAW) Conversion (HPK/APL) Production (HP/HPT)
  8. 8. Selectively-logged forests: • Spp-individual curves similar to unlogged • Very few species become locally extinct
  9. 9. Natural Forest Management (NRM) • Selective felling of commercial trees • Growth of “adolescent” trees in residual stand for next harvest • Small gaps from scattered treefalls • Favors mix of sun- & shade-tolerant species • Can be “enrichment planted” while maintaining ecosystem function
  10. 10. Carbon Sequestration in Sabah’s Lowland Forests under Reduced Impact Logging (Pinard & Putz, Biotropica 1995) • Highly selective felling, low proportion trees extracted/ha • Lowland forest (dryland, below 500m) biomass is about 400 tons/ha, 50% carbon – 17% biomass below ground (70 tons/ha) – 83% above ground (330 tons/ha) • Conventional mechanized logging: residual stand w/44% of pre-logging biomass (176 tons/ha) • Sabah’s RIL (reduced impact logging system): 67% of pre-logging biomass (268 tons/ha) – Net gain 88 tons/ha – Reduced fire risk (fire protection incentive because financial assets) – Improved habitat for biodiversity conservation • Longer rotation time means most area of FMU growing in structure
  11. 11. Hopes for improved forest management & carbon storage - Incorporates SFM practices, environmental services & social justice - Buy certified tropical timber! Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification:
  12. 12. New opportunities have emerged to designate and protect landscape-scale forests by engaging the private sector in identifying and managing High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) 1. Timber enterprises pursue forest certification • High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) delineated and protected • Production forests under Sustainable Forest Management 2. Plantation industries avoid converting HCVF (use degraded lands) • Certified paper, palm oil, cocoa encouraged: as per Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) 3. Industry pays for protection and management of natural forests • Carbon & other environmental service financing can help pay for protection of HCVF • Provides “rent” to governments and local communities These require new policy and management instruments
  13. 13. HCV Assessments for palm oil, Pulp & Paper & other industries Industry incentive: reduce criticism & green marketing advantage for “certified” palm oil • Many palm oil plantation growers and retailers of palm oil products have endorsed Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) P & C – Principle 7.1: no new plantations in HCVF – Other social justice and environmental criteria • Monitoring system using RS/GIS • Create “partnership” with some industry players under the RSPO • Conservation groups would help support certified product marketing
  14. 14. Goal of the HCV Process Maintain or enhance High Conservation Values (in a management unit or area) Consultation Identify Manage Monitor
  15. 15. The 6 High Conservation Values HCV 1 Areas with concentrations of biodiversity HCV 2 Large intact natural landscapes HCV 3 Areas with rare or endangered ecosystems HCV 4 Critical environmental services of nature HCV 5 Basic needs of local communities HCV 6 Cultural identity of local communities
  16. 16. Sustaining Sumatra’s peat swamp forests •6 blocks, > 2 million ha total •Annual GHG emissions from deforestation = 1/2 Australia’s total Link Kerumatan NP to HCVF areas in concessions HCV1.2 HCV1.1
  17. 17. July 19, 2006 Asia Pulp & Paper’s 2005 concessions in east-central Sumatra 17
  18. 18. HCVF assessment of APP pulp & paper concession at Pulau Muda (Smartwood) (cross-hatched are HCVF) Connection to Kerumatan large landscape peat forest -30,000 ha HCVF
  19. 19. Environmental values provided by forests • Conservation of biodiversity • Maintenance of hydrological cycle: rainfall, flooding, water quality • Sustainable production of timber, other products • Recreation, scientific research, spiritual/cultural • Carbon storage to offset global climate change Economic values provided by forest lands • Timber and various non-timber forest products (NTFPs) • Tax income: local, national • Foreign exchange (export commodities) • Economic Development (infrastructure, govt. services) • Employment • Cash Income (local people) • Political power and “capital”
  20. 20. Land claims inside Concession
  21. 21. Some relevant points for goal of restoring soil carbon (?) • Certified product branding can simplify message • Partner with environmental AND social justice NGOs • Focus on supply chain buyers, including financing institutions • Very complicated stakeholder relationships, more important than science • But CAN develop models for promoting, financing and implementation

×