NewsNew Science-For-Policy Report on Biodiversity-Carbon Co-Benefits

September 22, 2015

SEnSOR’s latest output focuses on a key questions highlighted by the industry: “Are the areas in the landscape that are important for biodiversity, the same areas that are important for carbon storage?”. We consulted experts in the fields of biodiversity and carbon and synthesised information from 75 publications to compare the amount of carbon and biodiversity found in different land-uses in Malaysia and Indonesia. We conclude that there is high agreement between the responses of carbon and biodiversity to different land-uses, and therefore measures to conserve one will benefit the other. Primary forests contain the highest levels of both and it is paramount that these areas are protected. However, logged and degraded forests also contain very high levels of biodiversity, and although carbon can be decreased by almost half, these areas have the potential to recover carbon stocks over time. Therefore, logged forests also have high co-benefits. By comparison, oil palm plantations contain only 20% of carbon and less than half of biodiversity, and the remaining species are usually generalist, open habitat species, not forest species. Therefore, future expansion of oil palm plantations should focus on degraded grass and scrub lands where biodiversity and carbon levels are even lower. The report also examines evidence for tree plantations and fragmented forest. The full report can be found here.