Role of Biodiversity in Climate Change Mitigation (ROBIN). Final report

Parr, Terry. 2016 Role of Biodiversity in Climate Change Mitigation (ROBIN). Final report. Brussels, European Commission, 28pp. (CEH Project no. C04500)

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Tropical forest landscapes are hot spots for biodiversity and hold substantial stores of carbon. They are used by forestry, agriculture, nature conservation and other sectors, and they must provide for peoples’ health, well-being and economic security. The aim of the EC’s ROBIN project was to reconcile these many and potentially conflicting demands by understanding, measuring and quantifying the role of biodiversity in mitigating climate change and in providing other benefits to people. It addressed two main questions: do forests and forest landscapes rich in biodiversity store more carbon and deliver more ecosystem services than less biodiverse systems? And if so, what can we do to take advantage of this? These questions are relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its 2020 targets. Answers will also inform the UN programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD+) which aims to enhance forest carbon pools by supporting the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of forests. ROBIN is particularly relevant to REDD+ co-benefits. ROBIN considers the impacts of land-use change in multi-functional landscapes in relation to IPCC Scenarios and is relevant to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. ROBIN used data from field studies, remote sensing, land use and ecosystem modelling and participatory approaches. We worked at multiple scales (local, national - Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia and Guyana - and regional) using a common indicator framework. We used scenarios combining possible climate and land use futures with options representing how people and governments may respond. We improved two dynamic vegetation models (LPJmL-FIT and JULES) by including biodiversity more realistically. We tested the scenarios in the models to see how forest productivity, crop yield, carbon storage and other ecosystem services may be affected by future climate and land use change. We worked with a broad range of local people (farmers, foresters, government authorities, etc.) in three case study areas and used Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping to explore stakeholder options relating to land management, forest biodiversity, climate change and local needs. ROBIN provided research evidence and products to support the following key messages: • in relation to the role of biodiversity: biodiversity matters - biodiverse forests store more carbon and are more resilient to climate change than less biodiverse forests. • in relation to monitoring: an indicator of ecosystem integrity can be calculated for data rich and data poor areas and has been used as a basis for a Mexican biodiversity monitoring programme. • in relation to policies and management options: managing logged and secondary forests for biodiversity will help increase carbon storage and resilience. • in relation to ecosystem functions: functional diversity and ecosystem integrity are linked to carbon storage, biodiversity and other forest benefits and can be easily monitored as part of a systematic approach to environmental management. • in relation to climate change mitigation and other ecosystem services: spatial trade-offs among services change across spatial scales and contexts and ROBIN developed two decision-support tools to help assess options that are relevant to local or national situations. • in relation to decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation: there may be creative opportunities for win-wins across bundles of services but the extent to which these are constrained by biophysical rather than socio-economic factors must be taken into account. • in relation to benefits and human well-being associated: payments for ecosystem services and REDD+ schemes should be linked to agricultural policies targeted at smallholders.

Item Type: Publication - Report
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
Additional Pages: 38
Funders/Sponsors: European Commission
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 08 Mar 2016 17:12 +0 (UTC)

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