The future is now for forests

As carbon sinks, forests featured in a year when efforts to halt global warming became even more acute under the shadow of reports that the world is now nearly a degree Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged swift action to meet Paris Agreement temperature targets at a special Climate Action Summit in September. CIFOR scientists rose to the challenge, presenting findings aimed at shaping national policies on forest ecosystems at a series of Global Landscapes Forum conferences and at annual COP 25 climate talks in Madrid. Local land stewards, including Indigenous Peoples and local forest communities, were reaffirmed as central stakeholders and the best land managers for forest conservation. Gender equity concerns also took center stage. By year-end, climate negotiators in Madrid had agreed countries must put improved carbon cutting plans on the table before U.N. climate talks in Glasgow next year. Conservation of rainforests, peatlands and such blue carbon ecosystems as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows will all play a key role in addressing the gap between what scientists say is required to avoid dangerous climate change, and trends which would see temperatures soar past the target threshold in the next decade.