This guest post by John J. Berger, Ph.D., environmental policy specialist, was first published in Forest Health and Management.
According to various estimates, deforestation accounts for 15 – 20% of world greenhouse gas emissions. Because of the role that its destruction could play in expediting global climate change, the Amazon rainforest has been the center of attention with respect to deforestation and natural carbon sequestration. An article published last week in The Guardian reported:
“Barack Obama made his first public intervention in the Copenhagen climate summit Thursday by backing a plan put forward by Norway and Brazil which would [help to] protect the world’s rainforests with funding from rich countries that cannot meet their commitments to cut emissions domestically.”
Brazil has the most remaining forest of any country worldwide, and about 20% of the world’s deforestation occurs in the Amazon forest. Therefore, Brazil’s participation in collaborative talks about slowing deforestation is crucial for the success of about 20 different plans for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) that have been proposed by various countries. Discussions under UN auspices are expected to be very thorough and to continue in a separate conference following the summit in Copenhagen. Determining a means to monitor progress and ensure protection of the forests involved and the peoples who depend on them will surely require much deliberation.
To read more about Barack Obama and Brazil’s roles in addressing deforestation at the Copenhagen conference, see John Vidal’s article, Copenhagen: Barack Obama backs Norway-Brazil forest protection plan
For more information on forests and their global importance, and strategies for their protection, see Forests Forever: Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection by Dr. John Berger