Document: REDD carbon credits, biodiversity co-benefits, and the 'you can’t get there from here problem'

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REDD carbon credits, biodiversity co-benefits, and the 'you can’t get there from here problem'

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Abstract

This document extends the discussion of REDD - Reduced-Emissions-from-Deforestation-and-forest-Degradation found in the document: Biodiversity and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) [http://australianmuseum.net.au/document/Biodiversity-and-Reduced-Emissions-from-Deforestation-and-forest-Degradation-REDD] and in: Faith et al (2001) Some future prospects for systematic biodiversity planning in Papua New Guinea – and for biodiversity planning in general. Pacific Conservation Biology 6:325-343.

It explores an example application of systematic conservation planning to find carbon sequestration sites and maximise biodiversity co-benefits at least cost. The biodiversity measure acts as a surrogate for overall biodiversity, and typically is based on models that combine primary species observations (from museum collections) with environmental data. "Cost" refers to the opportunity cost of preservation.

The example is used to argue that we can avoid the 'you can’t get there from here problem' (for given total forgone forestry, the optimal biodiversity gain is not available if we are starting from an already completed selection of protected areas). We avoid the problem when the business-as-usual selection of protected areas and the selection of carbon REDD sites are part of the same systematic conservation planning process. Additionality of REDD sites still can be established, if we have an estimate of the carbon that could have been sequestered by the business-as-usual selection of protected areas on its own.

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