CR 17:229-246 (2001) - doi:10.3354/cr017229
Central African forests, carbon and climate change
Chris Justice1,*, David Wilkie2,**, Quanfa Zhang1, Jake Brunner3, Cinde Donoghue1,***
ABSTRACT: The tropical forests of the world are receiving considerable attention in terms of their role in climate change. Not only does tropical land use change provide an important term in balancing the global carbon budget, but tropical forests also present opportunities for carbon trading in the emerging carbon markets. The Congo Basin contains the second largest area of contiguous rainforest in the world, yet for various reasons has received relatively little attention in terms of these climate change issues. This paper provides an assessment of the current state of the forests of Central Africa, their carbon stock, recent rates of deforestation and a simple predictive model of forest change over the next 60 yr. The roles of agriculture and logging which are driving deforestation are discussed. The future of the forests, whether for commercial use, carbon trading or biodiversity is inextricably linked to how these valuable resources are managed. Suggestions are made for potential carbon trading projects, forest management strategies and a climate change research agenda for the region. Effective forest monitoring and management are seen as essential components for the economic development of this region.
KEY WORDS: The Congo Basin · Climate change · Carbon · Forest management and policy
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