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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

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.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2012.6.2-1 | Award Amount: 11.46M | Year: 2012

Human use and exploitation of the biosphere is increasing at such a pace and scale that the sustainability of major ecosystems is threatened, and may not be able to continue to function in ways that are vital to the existence of humanity. Re-framing environmental resource use has led to the emergence of the concepts of ecosystem services (ES) and natural capital (NC). This discourse indicates not only a change in our understanding of planetary functions at the ecosystem scale, but also a fundamental shift in how we perceive the relationship between people and the ecosystems on which they depend. OPERAs (OPERATIONAL POTENTIAL OF ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH APPLICATIONS) aims to improve understanding of how ES/NC contribute to human well-being in different social-ecological systems in inland and coastal zones, in rural and urban areas, related to different ecosystems including forests and fresh water resources. The OPERAs research will establish whether, how and under what conditions the ES/NC concepts can move beyond the academic domain towards practical implementation in support of sustainable ecosystem management. OPERAs will use a meta-analysis (systematic review) of existing ES/NC practice to identify knowledge gaps and requirements for new policy options and instruments. New insights, and improved or novel tools and instruments, will be tested in practice in exemplar case studies in a range of socio-ecological systems across locales, sectors, scales and time. Throughout this iterative process, available resources and tools will be brought together in a Resource Hub, a web-based portal that will be co-developed by scientists and practitioners representing different interests and perspectives on the development, communication and implementation of the ES/NC concepts. The Resource Hub will provide the main interface between OPERAs and a Community of Excellence (CoE) for continued practice that will benefit from OPERAs outcomes.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2010.1.1.6-1 | Award Amount: 4.29M | Year: 2011

At COP15 in Copenhagen one outcome was a commitment to develop a mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD\). There is, however, only a limited research basis for such a mechanism particularly with regard to the need for understanding and monitoring the impact of REDD\ activities on climate effectiveness, cost efficiency, equity and co-benefits. I-REDD\ will approach these challenges from a truly interdisciplinary perspective. The overall objective will be to obtain an improved understanding of how the implementation of REDD\ mechanisms may 1) reduce emissions of GHG and maintain or enhance existing stocks of carbon in vegetation and soil of various land cover types; 2) impact livelihoods and welfare of local farming communities and differences between communities; 3) impact biodiversity conservation, and 4) provide a realistic framework for monitoring, reporting and verification of REDD\, including the importance of governance and accountability at multiple levels. To complement other research initiatives we propose to work in the uplands of Southeast Asia in the Heart of Borneo, Kalimantan, Indonesia, and in the northern parts of Lao PDR and Vietnam, and Yunnan in Southwest China. Rapid land use transitions from forest and shifting cultivation to other, more intensive land use systems and widespread forest degradation are occurring in these areas, making the potential for REDD\ particularly pronounced. Moreover, REDD\ may considerably impact on local economies, because of the high population densities in the region. The partners in I-REDD\ are leading research institutions in Europe and Southeast Asia, international research organizations, an NGO and an SME. The consortium has a strong emphasis on local dissemination and capacity development in order to ensure that project results influence REDD\ policy development at local, national and global level.


Wunder S.,Center for International Forestry Research
Ecological Economics | Year: 2015

This article revisits the payments for environmental services (PES) concept and reviews existing PES definitions. Based on Weberian philosophy of science, it is argued that an ideal PES type, strongly embedded in PES theory, is needed to understand their logic. Many broader, empiricist definitions fail to distinguish PES from the larger generic family of positive environmental incentives, thus eroding their meaning by excessive vagueness. Arguably, PES definitions should focus on describing a functional tool, rather than normatively integrating desirable PES outcomes. A modified narrow PES definition is proposed, outlining conditionality as the single defining feature, avoiding the buyer-seller terms, and linking PES to offsite externalities. Extensive explanatory guidelines address many valid conceptual concerns raised in the recent PES literature. © 2014 Elsevier B.V..


Wunder S.,Center for International Forestry Research
Conservation Letters | Year: 2013

Using the article by Muradian et al. as entry point, I develop a broader framework for the conditions needed to allow PES to emerge and function. It is argued that PES are designed as instruments with clear goals, and will function without markets, economic valuation, or commoditized services. As a highly adaptive management tool, PES are particularly suited for achieving equitable and flexible conservation outcomes. However, PES do require a payment culture and good organization from service users, a trustful negotiation climate, and well-defined land- or resource-tenure regimes for providers. These demanding preconditions may explain why PES implementation, while promising in many cases, has only spread slowly in low-income countries. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Larson A.M.,Center for International Forestry Research
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2011

Numerous authors have stressed the importance of guaranteeing and protecting the tenure and human rights of indigenous and other forest-based communities under schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD, or REDD+); and important international indigenous organizations have spoken out strongly against REDD+. This article examines two specific issues that present risks for local communities: rights to forests and rules for resource use. It draws on the findings of a study conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on forest tenure reforms in selected countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America from 2006 to 2008. The study underlines the numerous obstacles faced by communities after rights are won, in moving from statutory rights to their implementation and to access to benefits on the ground. It argues that there is currently little reason to expect better results from national policies under REDD+ without binding agreements to protect local rights. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Hergoualc'H K.,Center for International Forestry Research | Verchot L.V.,Center for International Forestry Research
Global Biogeochemical Cycles | Year: 2011

The increasing and alarming trend of degradation and deforestation of tropical peat swamp forests may contribute greatly to climate change. Estimates of carbon (C) losses associated with land use change in tropical peatlands are needed. To assess these losses we examined C stocks and peat C fluxes in virgin peat swamp forests and tropical peatlands affected by six common types of land use. Phytomass C loss from the conversion of virgin peat swamp forest to logged forest, fire-damaged forest, mixed croplands and shrublands, rice field, oil palm plantation, and Acacia plantation were calculated using the stock difference method and estimated at 116.9± 39.8, 151.6± 36.0, 204.1± 28.6, 214.9± 28.4, 188.1± 29.8, and 191.7± 28.5 Mg C ha-1, respectively. Total C loss from uncontrolled fires ranged from 289.5 68.1 Mg C ha-1 in rice fields to 436.2 77.0 Mg C ha-1 in virgin peat swamp forest. We assessed the effects of land use change on C stocks in the peat by looking at how the change in vegetation cover altered the main C inputs (litterfall and root mortality) and outputs (heterotrophic respiration, CH4 flux, fires, and soluble and physical removal) before and after conversion. The difference between the soil input-output balances in the virgin peat swamp forest and in the oil palm plantation gave an estimate of peat C loss of 10.8± 3.5 Mg C ha -1 yr-1. Peat C loss from other land use conversions could not be assessed due to lack of data, principally on soil heterotrophic respiration rates. Over 25 years, the conversion of tropical virgin peat swamp forest into oil palm plantation represents a total C loss from both biomass and peat of 427.2± 90.7 Mg C ha-1 or 17.1± 3.6 Mg C ha -1 yr-1. In all situations, peat C loss contributed more than 63% to total C loss, demonstrating the urgent need in terms of the atmospheric greenhouse gas burden to protect tropical virgin peat swamp forests from land use change and fires. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Schoneveld G.C.,Center for International Forestry Research
Land Use Policy | Year: 2014

Nigeria's once thriving plantation economy has suffered under decades of state neglect and political and civil turmoil. Since Nigeria's return to civilian rule in 1999, in a bid to modernize its ailing agricultural economy, most of its defunct plantations were privatized and large new areas of land were allocated to 'high-capacity' agricultural investors. This paper explores the local tensions associated with this policy shift in Cross River State, which, due to its favorable agro-ecological conditions and investment climate, has become one of Nigeria's premier agricultural investment destinations. It shows how the state's increasing reliance on the private sector as an impetus for rural transformation is, paradoxically, crowding out smallholder production systems and creating new avenues for rent capture by political and customary elites. Moreover, as Nigeria's most biodiverse and forested state, the rapid expansion of the agricultural frontier into forest buffer zones is threatening to undermine many of the state's conservation initiatives and valuable common pool resources. The paper goes on to explain why and how private sector interests in Cross River State are increasingly being prioritized over natural resource protection, indigenous rights over the commons, and smallholder production systems. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Schoneveld G.C.,Center for International Forestry Research
Food Policy | Year: 2014

Following the food and energy price crises of the mid 2000s, sub-Saharan Africa has become one of the largest recipients for large-scale farmland investments. While much has been written on the phenomenon, scant reliable empirical evidence is available as to the precise geographic and sectoral patterns and underlying drivers. Employing strict data quality requirements, this paper addresses these knowledge gaps by analyzing 563 farmland projects that have been established between 2005 and 2013 in sub-Saharan Africa. Findings show that the investment intensity and associated risks are not geographically uniform. Moreover, the study highlights a number of popular misconceptions regarding investor origin and their sectoral interests and motives. © 2014 The Author.


Sunderland T.C.H.,Center for International Forestry Research
Phytotaxa | Year: 2012

The rattans of Africa are represented by the endemic palm (Arecaceae) genera Laccosperma, Eremospatha and Oncocalamus, as well as by a single species of the otherwise Asian genus Calamus. These climbing palms occur in a wide range of ecological conditions within the lowland tropical forests of the continent and, throughout their range, play a significant role in the forest economy of the region through the utilisation of their stems, or cane. Despite this economic importance, until recently the taxonomy of this group has been unclear. Based on recent fieldwork as well as thorough examination of herbarium records, a taxonomic treatment of all African rattans is presented. This paper recognises 22 species in the four genera, including four recently described species. © 2012 Magnolia Press.

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