Tropical forests harbor seventy percent of known terrestrial species. Nearly one billion people living in extreme poverty depend on forests for their livelihoods, and forests provide life-sustaining services such as food, fuel, shelter, water regulation and climate stabilization.
Yet, tropical forests are disappearing at an alarming rate, with more than 15 million hectares - an area larger than the state of New York - converted each year for agriculture and development. Destruction of these forests contributes approximately 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions annually - more than the entire global transportation sector.
To reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and safely stabilize the earth's climate, the world must slow the rate of tropical deforestation. Several studies affirm that slowing deforestation can be one of the most cost-effective options for combating climate change quickly and that it can contribute significantly to both biodiversity protection and, with appropriate institutional arrangements, human well-being.
However, in the global efforts to tackle climate change, the role of conserving forests is not sufficiently addressed. Existing climate policies, including the Kyoto Protocol, do not recognize the protection of standing forests as a source of carbon emission reductions. As a result, the protection of tropical forests is not valued in today's carbon marketplace.
To help catalyze a global market for conserving forests, The Nature Conservancy is working with partners to advance understanding of this issue and to demonstrate that incentive-based programs can be implemented successfully to mitigate climate change, conserve forests, and improve livelihoods.
About this Workspace
This workspace is an information clearinghouse on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). It has current papers and articles on the political, economic, and methodological aspects of REDD. It also houses information on the work TNC is doing on REDD. If you are new to REDD, the keyword titled 'Background Documents on REDD' contains basic information on all aspects of the topic. Please explore the workspace and feel free to leave comments and suggestions on additional information to include.
For more information on climate change in general, please visit our climate change workspace at: www.conserveonline.org/workspaces/climate.change