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Minggu, 05 September 2010

Urgent action needed on climate–forestry research

CIFOR Director General Frances Seymour gives a keynote address at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations’ World Congress in Seoul on August 24.

Forestry scientists need to think big, act fast and communicate better if their work is to have an impact on global climate change negotiations, CIFOR Director General Frances Seymour said in a keynote address at an international forestry conference.
'We've got to get out there in climate-related policy arenas and practitioner communities and push the research results that we already have in hand,' she said at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations' World Congress in Seoul on August 24, which was attended by about 3000 scientists and other experts from around the world.
Scientists estimate that deforestation and forest degradation account for between 12 and 18 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. At the same time, studies have shown that healthy forests have the potential to absorb about 15 percent of humankind's carbon emissions.
While deforestation and forest degradation make efforts to curb climate change more difficult, forest conservation and expansion offer positive opportunities. That is why there is so much interest in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – REDD+ – which has the potential to deliver large cuts in carbon emissions at a low cost.
Ms Seymour said that new research on REDD needs to focus on empirical analysis of what actually happens as REDD policies and projects move from ideas to implementation on the ground. She said it was crucial for the research community to establish how REDD policies and programmes can reduce emissions while also being equitable.
'Under what conditions, if any, can policies and programmes to promote forest-related climate adaptation strategies be effective in promoting local and societal resilience, while also being equitable in the distribution of costs and benefits across different stakeholder groups?' she said.
'In the new context of climate change, we need to understand the institutions and governance mechanisms needed to underpin solutions that yield effective, efficient and equitable outcomes. How can REDD and adaptation schemes find the optimal position between centralised and decentralised approaches?  How do local property rights and other institutional variables influence their effectiveness? What are the actual impacts of forest adaptation and mitigation policies and projects on the rights and livelihoods of forest communities, and how can synergies be maximised and trade-offs reduced?'
Ms Seymour's message of urgency was reinforced by Jan McAlpine, director of the UN Forum on Forests. She told delegates that the world's forests 'contain two-thirds of Earth's known terrestrial species. They provide protection against degradation of land and desertification from climate change. They provide income for hundreds of millions of people across the globe.'
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, assistant director-general at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Forestry Department, said at the conference, 'The world will not be able to meet the challenge of climate change without putting forests at the centre of climate change policy.'
Still, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, in an opening address to the meeting, said that he was optimistic for the future, based on his country's experience with reforestation programmes.
'Since we announced our Green Growth programme in Korea, jobs have increased three-fold in the green industry and profits have also tripled,' he said. 'Each year, 50 000 new jobs are created.

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