30 June 2014
Carbon-centric conservation programs, such as REDD+ (Reduce CO2 Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions by preventing forest loss through protection of certain areas of forest that have high carbon content. This is determined by estimating the aboveground woody biomass, which is, basically, how thick the tree cover is. In the process, these programs tout that they’re also preserving vital wildlife habitat.
However, a study published this week in mongabay.com’s journal Tropical Conservation Science, found tree cover does not necessarily correlate with habitat importance. It suggests that using such a metric may be leading to false assumptions of habitat importance, and that REDD+ and other carbon-centric conservation programs may actually be propelling some species towards extinction.