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Forests and climate change: global understandings and possible responses

Publication date:
S. Dresner
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This is the draft report of a scoping study for the Forestry Commission on forests and climate change. The report discusses the role that sustainable forest management can play in mitigating climate change. The report is divided into the following sections:the scientific consensus on climate outlined while the scientific uncertainties remaining about future carbon fluxes involving vegetation and soil are highlighteda description of the effects of climate change on forests and the role of forests in regulating water flow, stabilising soils and providing habitat for biodiversityan outline of past attempts to establish a global convention on forests, and introduces the concept of sustainable forest managementa discussion of international climate policy and the post-2012 policy scenario in particular as it relates to carbon sinksa discussion of afforestation, reforestation, and other land use change with a focus on deforestationa description of strategies and techniques for adaptive management, and a consideration of how this is supported by public understanding of forestry and climate change.The report concludes that forests are vitally important in addressing climate change because forest ecosystems affect climate through the absorption of carbon in wood, leaves and soil. The report makes the following policy recommendations:halting deforestationreducing illegal loggingsequestration projectsreducing uncertainties in climate change sciencesustainable forest managementThe report also highlights requirements that must be met to overcome barriers to implementing these recommendations including:an accurate valuation of the environmental services that are provided by forest ecosystemsparticipatory decision-making processes involving all stakeholdersflexible and reflexive policies in order to adapt to future climate changesthe development of knowledge transfer partnershipsconsideration of wider policy objectives, such as poverty eradication and assisting developing nations to adapt to climate change.