In the face of unprecedented deforestation and biodiversity loss, policy makers are increasingly using financial incentives to encourage conservation.
However, a research team led by the National University of Singapore (NUS) revealed that in the long run, conservation incentives may struggle to compete with future agricultural yields.
Their findings were first published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 15 April 2013.
As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, CIFOR is organizing with its partners a two-day policy and science conference entitled "Sustainable forest management in Central Africa: Yesterday, today and tomorrow." Bringing together the region's leading policy makers, donors, media, researchers and forest experts, the conference will provide a forum for open discussion of the most critical issues and challenges facing the sustainable management of Central Africa's forests, the biodiversity they embrace and the people who depend on them.
Khadija Mtungakoa, a 38-year-old mother of three, wears a broad smile as she prepares food on her energy-saving stove.
She explains joyfully how it has helped reduce her reliance on the firewood she gathers from the nearby Amani Nature Reserve in Tanzania's Muheza District.
The government established the reserve in 1997 to protect the unique forest ecosystem of the East Usambara Mountains, a range in the Eastern Arc Mountains.
Mtungakoa's stove, made of clay soil and cow dung, stays hot for much longer than a conventional model, which makes it more efficient when simmering and allows her to reheat cooked food. And it uses much less wood.
Natural capital includes, first of all, the resources that we easily recognize and measure such as minerals and energy, forest timber, agricultural land, fisheries and water. It also includes ecosystems producing services that are often ‘invisible’ to most people such as air and water filtration, flood protection, carbon storage, pollination for crops, and habitat for fisheries and wildlife. These values are not readily captured in markets, so we don’t really know how much they contribute to the economy and livelihoods. We often take these services for granted and don’t know what it would cost if we lose them.
The concept of accounting for natural capital has been around for more than 30 years. However, progress in moving toward implementation has been slow.
A major step towards achieving this vision came recently with the adoption by the UN Statistical Commission of the System for Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA). The SEEA provides an internationally agreed method, on par with the current SNA, to account for material natural resources like minerals, timber, and fisheries. The challenge now is to build capacity in countries to implement the SEEA and to demonstrate its benefits to policy makers.
On Tuesday, 26 February, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) board formally approved its US$4.5 million co-funding for the new Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management program in the Heart of Borneo.
This funding is part of a program that was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council in November 2012. In addition to the ADB’s US$4.5m, the GEF will provide US$2.5m, the Government of Indonesia US$0.5m and WWF US$2m. The GEF program is an example of the power of collaboration with public sector partners, which has resulted in several new funding mechanisms directed at the Heart of Borneo program.
Indonesia’s vast mangrove forests, CIFOR has recently discovered, are a valuable carbon sink. They shelter unique species, protect coastlines from stormy seas – and they are fast disappearing.
Conservationists would see them protected from the logger’s chainsaw.
But it’s possible that selective and sustainable logging of these forests can be done while retaining much of their carbon – and save them from worse fates.
“The threat to mangrove forests is not the cutting of the above ground wood, but conversion to other uses,” says Muljadi Tantra, the Deputy Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of a group of companies that harvest mangrove wood for charcoal and paper pulp in the provinces of Kalimantan and Papua.
In this film, ecological economist Dr Trista Patterson, lead scientist with The Nature Conservancy Dr M Sanjayan, sustainability advisor and author Tony Juniper and environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev reveal the richness of life supported by the Amazon and the hidden contribution this great forest makes in helping regulate the planets climate.
Watch the video: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130226-amazon-lungs-of-the-planet
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says millions of people could escape poverty, hunger and environmental degradation if countries put more effort into promoting agro-forestry, an integrated approach combining trees with crop or livestock production.
The agro-forestry sector is a significant source both of local commodities such as fuel wood, timber, fruit and fodder for livestock as well as global ones such as coconut, coffee, tea, rubber and gum.
ADB is partnering with WWF and the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia to conserve the lush forests of Borneo, providing sustainable livelihood for local populations and a safe haven for thousands of animals and plant species.