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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2009

  • Title: Assessment of Tropical Forest Carbon Balance – Data Analysis, Projection and Policy Implications for REDD
  • Primary Author: Nophea Sasaki (University of Hyogo, Japan)
  • Additional Authors: David Foster (Harvard Forest); David Kittredge (University of Massachusetts - Amherst ); Wolfgang Knorr (University of Bristol)
  • Abstract:

    The issue of reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) has been a focal topic of the climate change negotiations at Bali in 2007. However, only a handful of studies exist so far on this important issue that are suitable to inform the debate with estimates of carbon balances as a result of REDD. Our study attempts to analyze the potential REDD during the post-Kyoto agreement period which is assumed between 2013 and 2020. We start by developing land use change, forest harvesting, and carbon cycling models that are used to estimate carbon stock changes in tropical natural forests and forest plantations, carbon fluxes in harvested wood products and dead wood biomasses, and the potential REDD. Modeling results estimate annual carbon emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation in all tropical forests to be approximately 1.2 PgC year-1 during the modeling period between 1990 and 2020. Carbon emissions are estimated during 2008–2012 (first commitment period) and 2013–2020 (post-Kyoto period) at 1.6 and 1.4 PgC year-1, respectively. Forest degradation resulted from overexploitation and illegal logging may emit the same amount of carbon from deforestation. If REDD is included in the post-Kyoto agreement, emissions of approximately 9.1 PgC carbon could be saved during this 8-year period, taking into account acceptable deforestation, i.e. that which is unavoidable as needed for daily survival and economic development in developing countries. This study suggests that including REDD in the next commitment period is likely to play a vital role in carbon emissions reduction. To maximize the potential reduction of carbon emissions in the tropics, technology transfer in logging and wood industry should also be part of the next agreement.

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  • Research Category: International Research Projects