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Quantifying environmental indicators and assessing performance in tropical forest management

Collins, Murray (2015) Quantifying environmental indicators and assessing performance in tropical forest management. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

Tropical forests are being cleared rapidly, causing between 12 and 20% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This process drives climate change and biodiversity loss. A new mechanism called REDD+ is being developed to pay tropical forest countries to reduce deforestation, and thereby to reduce these negative externalities. To be able to do this, maps of forest carbon stocks and change are fundamental. Policy impact analysis is essential too since REDD+ payments are performance-based. Quantify- ing biodiversity benefits of REDD+ is important too for carbon credit buyers. This thesis addresses these needs on Sumatra. As of 2007, a 7.2Mha study area holds 503 x 10 6 Mg of forest biomass, with the largest stocks in protected and production forests. Other land classes have much lower biomass, suggesting legally exploitable forests are already depleted. What forest remains is being cleared rapidly. Between 2007 and 2009, 229 x 103 ha of forest were cleared, a rate of 1.6% yr−1, and loss of >6% of the 2007 forest biomass, creating emissions of 58 ±12.1 x 10 110 6 Mg CO2e. Yet the deforestation is not uniform. On average protected forests reduce deforestation. However at the extreme, one protected forest area had virtually no forest remaining at all by 2007. By contrast the Berbak Carbon Initiative REDD+ pilot project has significant stocks (34.7 ± 17.3 ±3.5 x 106 Mg forest carbon; 380 x 106 Mg peat carbon). It also supports a population of critically endangered Sumatran tigers (occupancy Ψ=0.14; 95% CI= 0.05:0.33). The project developers hope to conserve tigers and carbon simultaneously. However, following the first year of project activities, compared against control sites, deforestation appears to have increased.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Murray Benjamin Collins
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Palmer, Charles
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3073

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