A seminar involving scientific experts, government and business representatives, NGOs and other interest groups, was held in January 2002 to discuss "How tropical forest projects can help fulfil the Kyoto Protocol".
The World Land Trust has projects around the world, the majority of which involve the conservation of intact tropical forests, thought to be major carbon sinks and stocks globally. Carbon, in the form of intact forests, is being traded on a speculative basis, but what does future international discussion hold for the trading of carbon credits in exchange for carbon sinks? The seminar addressed a number of key issues. These are summarised below:
- Despite numerous uncertainties, it seems likely that
- maintaining existing forest provides a continuing sink and avoids creating a major source through clearance
- forest regeneration will create a further sink
- tropical forestry projects may provide short term amelioration of global warming but will not provide a substitute for emissions reduction
- The details of the international regulatory framework remain yet to be established, and as a result the UK government are taking a cautious approach to forming legislation with regard to carbon sink projects.
- NGOs have a key role to play in setting up combined biodiversity and carbon sink projects, by providing opportunities, expertise and ethical supervision.
- Forestation projects could have a beneficial impact on biodiversity, but without guidelines and impact assessments, projects may present serious threats to biodiversity conservation.