Gauging the impact of tropical forest logging: Winrock develops new method for quantifying carbon emissions

2 April 2014

ARLINGTON, Va. (April 2, 2014) — Researchers at Winrock International have developed a first-of-its-kind method for estimating carbon emissions from forest degradation caused by selective logging in tropical regions. Refined over a period of 15 years and tested in six countries, the approach is highlighted in an article authored by Winrock's Ecosystems Services experts, Timothy Pearson, Sandra Brown and Felipe Casarim — published April 1 in Environmental Research Letters.

Until now, efforts for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in developing countries have focused on deforestation, which has proven, robust methods for estimating associated carbon emissions. In contrast, there are no well-established methods for estimating carbon emissions associated with forest degradation. The new method developed by the Winrock team measures logging-associated emissions from all sources: the extracted timber, the incidental damage to the surrounding forest, and the logging infrastructure such as roads, skid trails and log decks. The estimate of the total emissions hinges on the simple, readily available statistic of extracted volume.

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