Carbon Benefits of Natural Landscapes
Conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy calls the strategy of managing forests, soils, grasslands and wetlands to store increasing amounts of carbon: "biological sequestration." US Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes calls it "the carbon benefits of natural landscapes."
In this discussion at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival, both see win-win possibilities for improving conservation outcomes while sequestering more carbon.
Here is Hayes, from the Q&A:
When Kyoto was being negotiated, there was a pox put on talking about carbon sinks, because there was a view that some of the developed countries, including the US, wanted to use the fact that they had very vibrant sinks as a way to diminish the obligations to reduce emissions that would be assigned to them.
And influential organizations like the World Wildlife Fund just said, “We are not including land use in any meaningful way in the equation.”
And the global market that developed under the Clean Development Mechanism excluded all but a very small slice of land use as a basis for credits.
Now that’s completely changed. It’s really amazing. A combination of the rainforest countries getting together through The Rainforest Coalition and saying, “We know that there is a big issue here and we want to be part of the international discussions,” have brought forests to the table.
And organizations like the World Wildlife Fund have changed there view a hundred eighty degrees. … There is a recognition now that we need to do everything we can.to deal with the carbon problem. And there is a recognition that we need to reduce carbon emissions, but we’ve got to work on the biological sequestration side as well, and forests are a big part of that. …
So the dynamic has really changed, going into Copenhagen.