Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

Forests take centre stage at COP21
  • Forests take centre stage at COP21

Copyright: Paul Lowe / Panos

SciDev.Net at large

Our blog from on the road and behind the scenes at key science and development events

Location Map

03/12/15

Nithin Coca
in Jakarta, Indonesia

Shares
With several heads of state, including Indonesia, Brazil, and the Congo, making a commitment to halt deforestation, the role of forests and climate was among the highlights at the start of COP21 on Monday in Paris, perhaps as a direct result of the massive environmental and health tragedy taking place in Indonesia.

"We know that healthy forests absorb carbon but we are destroying them at massive rates," said Ricardo Tejada, global communications director of the nonprofit International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Science has allowed for a far better understanding of the role that tropical forests play globally. New reports from Global Forest Watch and Woods Hole Research Center, which mapped carbon in indigenous territories, find a staggering 20 per cent of tropical carbon stock in these areas — and the potential for the world to drastically cut deforestation in a short period.

“The carbon map showed that in Indonesia alone, indigenous areas store 32.7 gigatons of carbon," said Abdon Nababan, secretary general of the Indonesian Indigenous People's Alliance (AMAN).

There is now also a better understanding of the role of forests in helping achieve ambitious but necessary mitigation goals.

"There are two billion hectares of degraded forests that could be restored and that restoration could be a massive ally in tackling climate change," said Tejada.

The Indonesian delegation spoke forcefully during events at COP21, claiming it was making drastic changes in its governance system to reduce forest fires and meet its stated goals in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, which pledged a 29 per cent annual emissions cut by 2030 compared to business-as-usual levels.

Countries with significant forest cover stood out at the start of COP21. Now it is time for the rest of the world to act and show they value tropical forests as well.

Next in the agenda is designating more funds from the Green Climate Fund, which aims to invest US$100 billion in developing countries per year by 2020 for forest protection, and figuring how best to expand and strengthen REDD+ to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s South-East Asia & Pacific desk.

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.