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Forests are not only carbon sinks...what about biodiversity?

Harnessing Carbon Payments to Protect Biodiversity

In the linked paper Verter et al. calculated that if REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) “…focuses solely on reducing carbon emissions, its benefits for biodiversity are low… if the same REDD funds were targeted to protect biodiversity, almost four times the number of species would be protected. In this case spending would tend to shift toward Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean nations. This is because species extinctions are most effectively minimized by protecting biodiversity “hot spots” areas with high species richness and endemism and relatively little remaining forest such as the Philippines, Madagascar, and Indonesia.”

Even though a critique was published on this paper (see Science 19 March 2010: 1452) based on the fact that tropical species are already shifting their distributions in response to increasing modern temperatures; on the same issue of Science you can also read the response by Verter et al.. The latter is based on the argument that the cited regions are rather stable in terms of climate especially at the large scale of Verter et al. analyses. Furthermore, several different bioclimatic models with varying predictions have been developed, which one should we trust? The conclusion is that the interesting point raised is not of practical relevance “when forests are under siege and conservation planners must make immediate decisions”.

I think Verter et al. conclusions should be greatly spread. It represents a very important strategy for effectively saving biodiversity.

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