Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives
This volume is the third assessment report of the Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) initiative, following those on adaptation of forests and people to climate change (in 2009), and on international forest governance (in 2011).The mission of GFEP is to support forest-related intergovernmental processes by assessing available scientific informationon forest-related issues of high concern in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, objective, open and transparentway. GFEP is a joint initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. It is led and coordinated by the InternationalUnion of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). Forests harbour a major proportion of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and provide a wide range of vitally importantecosystem services – including carbon sequestration and storage. Deforestation and forest degradation continue to erodebiodiversity and the capacity of forest ecosystems to help mitigate climate change and provide the goods and servicesthat sustain livelihoods and human well-being locally, and globally. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestationand forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a proposedmechanism which has the potential to realise its primary objective – climate change mitigation – with variable impacts,positive and negative, on biodiversity, forests and people. REDD+ is complex, its proposed activities and implementationmechanisms not yet clearly defined, and therefore surrounded by uncertainty. Because of its high relevance to climatechange mitigation, the conservation and sustainable use of forests and their biological diversity, the Expert Panel onBiodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+ was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests in December2011 to carry out this assessment.The Expert Panel included 24 scientists and other experts from a variety of biophysical and social science disciplinesrelevant to the topics covered in this assessment report. An additional 18 contributing authors added their expertise to theassessment. Each chapter was prepared by a team of Lead Authors and Contributing Authors led by one or more CoordinatingLead Authors. A full draft of the report and its individual chapters was peer-reviewed prior to its completion. Theresults of this voluntary collaboration between January and October 2012 are presented in the six inter-related chapterscomprising this book.This assessment report evaluates the implications of forest and land management interventions envisaged under REDD+in a multidimensional and integrated fashion. It summarises the most current scientific literature that sheds light on therelationships between forest biodiversity and carbon (and other ecosystem services), how these complex relationshipsmay be affected by management activities implemented to achieve REDD+ objectives, the potential synergies and tradeoffsbetween and among environmental and socio-economic objectives, and their relationship to governance issues.Based on the main findings of the assessment (summarised in Chapter 6), a policy brief entitled ‘REDD+, Biodiversityand People: Opportunities and Risks’ has been prepared especially for policy- and decision-makers.Given the broad scope of this assessment, it was not possible to cover all topics in great detail or to the extent that somereaders may have wished. However it is my hope that this assessment report provides a sound scientific basis for informeddecision-making by policy-makers, investors, donors and other interested stakeholders with respect to REDD+implementation.