Center for International Forest Research

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Center for International Forest Research

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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News Article | April 17, 2017

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Clear-cutting of tropical mangrove forests to create shrimp ponds and cattle pastures contributes significantly to the greenhouse gas effect, one of the leading causes of global warming, new research suggests. A seven-year study, led by Oregon State University and the Center for International Forestry Research, spanned five countries across the topics from Indonesia to the Dominican Republic. The researchers concluded that mangrove conversion to agricultural uses resulted in a land-use carbon footprint of 1,440 pounds of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere for the production of every pound of beef; and 1,603 pounds of released carbon dioxide for every pound of shrimp. "On a personal scale, this means a typical steak and shrimp cocktail dinner produced through mangrove conversion would burden the atmosphere with 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide," said J. Boone Kauffman, an ecologist at Oregon State University who led the study. "This is approximately the same amount of greenhouse gases produced by driving a fuel-efficient automobile from Los Angeles to New York City." The findings are published online today in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The results were derived by the researchers through development of a new measurement - the land-use carbon footprint - by measuring the amount of carbon stored in the intact mangrove forest, the greenhouse gas emissions rising from conversion, and the quantity of the shrimp or beef produced over the life of the land use. Mangroves represent 0.6 percent of all the world's tropical forests but their deforestation accounts for as much as 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that come from all tropical deforestation, Kauffman said. "What we found was astounding," said Kauffman, a senior research professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "It's a remarkable amount of carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere when you convert these mangrove forests to shrimp ponds or pastures. And the food productivity of these sites is not really very high." Mangroves are a group of trees and shrubs that live in tropical coastal intertidal zones. There are about 80 different species of mangrove trees. All of these trees grow in areas of waterlogged soils, where slow-moving waters allow fine sediments to accumulate. In these environments, mangroves sequester significant quantities of carbon that is stored for centuries. Rates of deforestation of mangroves have been dramatic over the past three decades. They are disappearing at the rate of about 1 percent per year. Conversion to shrimp ponds is the greatest single cause of mangrove degradation and decline in Southeast Asia. The study was conducted on 30 relatively undisturbed mangrove forests and 21 adjacent shrimp ponds or cattle pastures. The sites were in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia and Mexico. Shrimp ponds were sampled in all countries except Mexico, where the predominant land use was conversion to cattle pastures. The decline in carbon storage from mangrove conversion to shrimp ponds or cattle pastures exceeded the research group's previous estimates. "These forests have been absorbing carbon for the last 4,000 or 5,000 years and now through deforestation they have become significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions," Kauffman said. "Because they store so much carbon that is released as greenhouse gases when deforested they are important sites for protection in order to mitigate or slow climate change." Collaborators on the study were researchers at Counterpart International in Arlington, Virginia; Universidade Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco Villhermosa in Mexico; the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica; the Center for Climate Change Studies at the University of Mulawarman in Indonesia; Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia; and the Center for International Forest Research in Indonesia. Funding for the study was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Council for Economic Development and Counterpart International.

Pendleton L.,Duke University | Donato D.C.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Murray B.C.,Duke University | Crooks S.,ESA Phillip Williams and Associates | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Recent attention has focused on the high rates of annual carbon sequestration in vegetated coastal ecosystems-marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses-that may be lost with habitat destruction ('conversion'). Relatively unappreciated, however, is that conversion of these coastal ecosystems also impacts very large pools of previously-sequestered carbon. Residing mostly in sediments, this 'blue carbon' can be released to the atmosphere when these ecosystems are converted or degraded. Here we provide the first global estimates of this impact and evaluate its economic implications. Combining the best available data on global area, land-use conversion rates, and near-surface carbon stocks in each of the three ecosystems, using an uncertainty-propagation approach, we estimate that 0.15-1.02 Pg (billion tons) of carbon dioxide are being released annually, several times higher than previous estimates that account only for lost sequestration. These emissions are equivalent to 3-19% of those from deforestation globally, and result in economic damages of $US 6-42 billion annually. The largest sources of uncertainty in these estimates stems from limited certitude in global area and rates of land-use conversion, but research is also needed on the fates of ecosystem carbon upon conversion. Currently, carbon emissions from the conversion of vegetated coastal ecosystems are not included in emissions accounting or carbon market protocols, but this analysis suggests they may be disproportionally important to both. Although the relevant science supporting these initial estimates will need to be refined in coming years, it is clear that policies encouraging the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems could significantly reduce carbon emissions from the land-use sector, in addition to sustaining the well-recognized ecosystem services of coastal habitats.

Abebaw D.,Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute | Kassa H.,Center for International Forest Research | Kassie G.T.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Lemenih M.,International Water Management Institute IWMI | And 2 more authors.
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2012

While the importance of forests for livelihoods has long been well-recognized, empirical knowledge of the factors influencing the extent and diversity of household engagement in the extraction of forest products across different socio-economic groups remains limited. In this paper, we use primary data collected through a household survey of 180 households in a resettled dry forest areas of Northwestern Ethiopia. The paper mainly aims at identifying the main drivers of household behavior regarding collection of main forest products in the context of dry forest environment. A multivariate probit analysis was used to explain variation in household participation in collection of different forest products. The results show that households' participation in collection of different forest products is significantly determined by a combination of household demographic characteristics, ownership of oxen and of cows, proximity to forest, access to health and school infrastructure, resettlement history and self-reported change in standard of living. The estimation results also suggest households most likely to engage in collection of forest honey, gum, and wood for fuel and other purposes are those located farther from the forest. Policy implications and outlook for further study are discussed in the paper. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Wood P.,Green Gecko Ltd | Sheil D.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Sheil D.,Center for International Forest Research | Syaf R.,KKI WARSI | Warta Z.,WWF Indonesia
Society and Natural Resources | Year: 2014

We investigated the implementation and sustainability of village conservation agreements and village conservation grants facilitated by an integrated conservation and development project (ICDP) around the Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia, 5 years after the project closed. Forty-three percent of agreement actions (n = 180) and 30% of grant activities (n = 74) were sustained. Informants identified numerous factors influencing success, but statistical tests failed to detect simple explanations. Conservation-livelihood agreements have a greater chance of success when preexisting factors are understood and the purpose of the agreement itself is clearly defined. © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

McDermott C.L.,University of Oxford | Irland L.C.,The Irland Group | Pacheco P.,Center for International Forest Research
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2015

This paper draws on a case study of the Brazilian Amazon to assess how two widely promoted strategies to govern tropical forests - non-state certification and state-based legality initiatives - interact with tropical wood production systems and the implications this holds for reducing deforestation and degradation and for local benefit-sharing. The assessment is guided by an analytical framework that predicts the relevance and receptiveness of different timber supply chains to current systems of trade-based governance. We find that Brazil's efforts to control illegal deforestation through satellite monitoring have contributed significantly to reducing deforestation, but the effects on degradation are less clear. Efforts focused on the timber supply chain, including certification and legal verification of traded timber, have been limited by the fragmented nature of Amazonian wood production. Both certification and legality verification favor large producers and concentrated supply chains destined for external markets (e.g. pulp and paper and high-value tropical sawnwood), while extensive legal requirements inhibit local benefit-capture. In order to prevent the means of forest governance (i.e. certification and law enforcement) from trumping its commonly stated ends (sustainable forest management and local welfare), there is a need to prioritize the generation of local benefit from locally adapted production systems. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Luttrell C.,Center for International Forest Research | Resosudarmo I.A.P.,Center for International Forest Research | Muharrom E.,Center for International Forest Research | Brockhaus M.,Center for International Forest Research | Seymour F.,Center for International Forest Research
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2014

The political context in Indonesia will affect the success of any reform process aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Such reforms require strong political support because of their potentially significant medium-term impact on winners and losers in the Indonesian economy. Although REDD+ in Indonesia has strong rhetorical presidential backing, analysis of the political system suggests that such support may not be sufficient without the engagement and ownership of key players such as the parliament and the bureaucracy. Not only is the president's official power curtailed by the formal political system, but the nature of coalition politics in Indonesia further weakens his ability to implement reforms. Securing the support of a coalition of parties within parliament and the bureaucracy at both national and decentralised levels may be crucial to ensuring implementation. Politicisation of the bureaucracy and increasing business-government relationships are important features of the parliamentary dynamic at the national level and are reportedly intensifying at the local level. Although public support has proved influential for other reforms in Indonesia, the public is less informed or motivated by the issues related to REDD+. In addition, the REDD+ debate is tainted by concerns about sovereignty and lack of national ownership. Building domestic constituencies for the reforms and associated institutions is therefore a key challenge. REDD+ reforms will require a stronger consensus among political elites and the broader public over the implications of a transition to a 'low carbon' economy in Indonesia. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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