New Carbon Maps Contribute to Wider Conservation
The UN-REDD Programme has helped to develop specialized carbon maps that highlight areas where investments in carbon could contribute to community livelihoods and conservation goals.
Mapping where a country’s carbon stocks overlap with areas that are important to wildlife and local peoples’ livelihoods is underway in Africa , Asia and Latin America. The aim is to support international efforts to conserve forests in order to combat climate change, but in a way that delivers other benefits including conservation of economically-important ecosystems linked with water, fertile soils and other crucial services.
The maps, being compiled by a partnership led by the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), overlay the carbon held in the vegetation and soils of a country’s terrestrial ecosystems with other key features. These include population densities; economic activities such as honey and gum production; the location of existing protected areas and biodiversity.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “The aim is to assist governments in setting priorities for carbon investments. In Tanzania for example, several carbon rich parts of the country are in areas where the ranges of almost 70 per cent of the country’s mammal species overlap”.
UNEP-WCMC’s work is being supported through two streams of funding: the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and the UN-REDD Programme.
Maps have been developed for Cambodia, Jiangxi Province in China, Ecuador, Honduras, Nigeria and Tanzania. Under the UN-REDD Programme, UNEP-WCMC is expecting to do further work for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia.
The launch of these maps coincided with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10th Conference of the Parties Meeting in Nagoya this month, where progress on the 2010 Biodiversity Target committed to by the world’s governments will be reviewed, and other issues, including biodiversity and climate change, are being considered.
Jon Hutton, Director of UNEP-WCMC, said: “Tropical forests host more than two thirds of the world’s terrestrial species, and provide vital ecosystem services that help to maintain people’s livelihoods. With global biodiversity under unprecedented threat, identifying areas that are high in both carbon and biodiversity offers an opportunity to direct scarce financial resources in ways that create win-win situations for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation.”
All maps and reports are publicly available and downloadable at: