Every year, millions of hectares of native forests are cleared for other land uses, including urban development, croplands, grazing lands and tree plantations. In the process, most of the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere. Deforestation, primarily in the tropics, is responsible for 10-20% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions possibly a greater contributor to climate change than the world transportation sector.
Forest carbon projects can be categorised in a variety of ways, but generally fall into either a strategy of retaining carbon in a forest, or restoring a forest. Retaining carbon in a forest can do so by conserving the forest completely or managing it carefully to minimise carbon loss. Natural Capital Credits are achieved through forest protection, conservation and avoided deforestation projects.
Forest protection is particularly important in the tropics, which have the highest rates of forest loss. Each year, more than 7 million hectares of forest are lost. Avoiding most of that deforestation would prevent the release many millions of tonnes of CO2e per year.
Successfully avoiding deforestation requires establishing large-scale incentives and mechanisms to address the major sources of deforestation. Celestial Green Ventures was an early adopter of natural climate solutions by way of avoided deforestation projects, such as REDD and REDD+ and the numerous benefits these projects can bring.
Avoided forest conversion and avoided deforestation are natural climate solutions that are ready to be put into practice immediately and we have the tools we need to stop deforestation now. Many of the world’s natural forests provide resources critical to people’s lives and livelihoods. Climate protection and protecting forests from deforestation and degradation can help to achieve maximum carbon sequestration within the forest and associated ecosystems and biomass. Ciaran Kelly, who has been involved in forest protection projects for a number of years, considers improving forest management practices and allowing natural forests to store more carbon, is crucial in maintaining these levels for the long term.
Most commonly projects are conducted in the tropics where deforestation is high and loss of rainforest biodiversity is a challenge. Biodiversity requires great care and attention to ensure it is protected, and even enhanced.