Forests and mitigation

How do forests relate to mitigation?
Forests contribute to mitigation because of their capacity of remove carbon from the atmosphere and to store it. Deforestation and forest degradation cause 15-20?% of global GHG emissions. The IPCC LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forests) report distinguishes three main mitigation activities in the forestry sector:

  • afforestation (converting long-time non-forested land to forest);
  • reforestation (converting recently non-forested land to forest);
  • and avoided deforestation (avoiding the conversion of forests to non-forested land) (Watson et al. 2000).

How do international mechanisms consider forests for mitigation?

Only afforestation and reforestation projects are eligible under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), an initiative now at the top of the international negotiation agenda, is based on financial incentives to preserve forests and thus maintain or increase carbon stocks. A REDD+ approach has been proposed for financing not only forest conservation but also the enhancement of forest carbon stocks (e.g. with reforestation) and sustainable forest management.

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