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CIFOR Study Shows Benefits of REDD Payments for Protecting Large Mammals in the Tropics

June 2009: A report published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), shows that payments for reducing emissions from deforestation or forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) could also protect orangutans, pygmy elephants, and other wildlife at risk of extinction.

The study titled “Carbon Payments as a Safeguard for Threatened Tropical Mammals,” offers quantitative evidence linking the drive to reduce carbon emissions from forests with the push to preserve threatened mammal biodiversity. Prepared by CIFOR researchers together with scientists from the University of Queensland, The Nature Conservancy and the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, the study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Conservation Letters. The press release announcing the publication explains that researchers investigated the potential role of carbon payments for the conservation of 3.3 million hectares of tropical forest land in Kalimantan, Indonesia, by comparing revenues for avoided deforestation to revenues from converting the forest to oil palm plantations. The study concludes that at a carbon price between US$10 to 33 per ton conserving the forest would be more profitable than oil palm production, while at the same time protecting the habitat of many threatened mammals.

CIFOR Director General Frances Seymour said the study emphasizes that a REDD mechanism could offer important win-win opportunities for climate and biodiversity protection, noting that negotiations in Copenhagen should focus on a mechanism that produces such co-benefits. [CIFOR Press Release]