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Carbon conservation in forests could preserve endangered species: Study
Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Fri, 06/05/2009 1:23 PM
National. A report revealed that paying to conserve billions of tons of carbon stored in tropical forests could also protect orangutans, pygmy elephants and other wildlife at risk of extinction.
The study examined the potential role of carbon payments in protecting 3.3 million hectares of tropical forest in Kalimantan.It said if CO2 credits could be sold for US$10 to $33 per ton, conserving the forest would be more profitable than clearing the land for oil palm plantations. In addition, forest conservation would prevent 2.1 billion tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere and preserve the habitat of some of the world’s most threatened mammal species living in these forests.
“Our study clearly demonstrates that payments made to reduce carbon emissions from forests could also be an efficient and effective way to protect biodiversity,” Oscar Venter, a biologist at the University of Queensland in Australia and the study’s lead author said in a statement.The study, jointly done by researchers from the Bogor-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the University of Queensland, The Nature Conservancy and the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Conservation Letters.
They compared the revenues that could be derived from protecting the forest and thus avoiding a large amount of carbon emissions, to the revenue that would be derived from converting the forest to oil palm plantations. The study determined that 40 of Kalimantan’s 46 threatened mammals live within areas slated for oil palm development. It said that planned oil palm plantations in peat forest areas, where carbon is most abundant, contain almost twice the mammal species density as more expensive areas. “Reducing Emissions Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) offers important win-win opportunities for climate and biodiversity protection,” said Frances Seymour, Director General of CIFOR.
“Ultimately, our goal is to help fashion an agreement in Copenhagen that will allow tropical forests to become a part of a more comprehensive climate agreement – one that will reduce emissions, as well as produce cobenefits. “There is already a good case to be made for ending the exclusion of existing forests in the next climate pact. This new evidence shows just one of the many benefits that a REDD accord could have.”