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Forests as carbon sinks and supporting communities/livelihoods

Dora Carias discusses forests as carbon sinks and their role in regulating climate. She explains Payments for Environmental Services (PES) and how the

It has been challenging to place a price on carbon capture, a key ecosystem service provided by forests. Carbon helps in climate regulation and makes our planet habitable for humans. Land areas with tree coverage act as sinks that capture carbon dioxide, or as emitters of carbon if not managed properly.

Although climate regulation is beneficial for society as a whole, carbon storage has costs for landowners. They face pressures because destructive forms of land use that are not conducive to carbon storage are more profitable. If forest owners and stewards are unable to harness the financial benefits of carbon storage, they will not be able to manage their lands appropriately.

Payments for Environmental Services (PES) aim to correct this incentive problem by allowing forest owners to enjoy the financial benefits of good land management. REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global PES scheme that provides developing nations an economic alternative to the more destructive use of forest lands, thereby giving them and their people a financial incentive to keep their forests standing.

Billions of dollars are being channelled towards developing countries through REDD+. Their local forest owners and stewards stand to gain tremendously from these funds, but first they must be supported as partners so that they can benefit. Support involves recognition of land rights, respect for their willingness (or not) to participate in these schemes, autonomy to use the funds for their development priorities, and improved governance to manage those funds.

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Life on Land: Ecology, Evolution, Challenges, and Solutions

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