Impacts of forest and land management on biodiversity and carbon

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Changes in the management of forest and non-forest land can contribute significantly to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Such changes can include both forest management actions - such as improving the protection and restoration of existing forests, introducing ecologically responsible logging practices and regenerating forest on degraded land - and actions aimed at reducing drivers of forest loss and degradation through changes in agricultural practices. The impacts of changes to forest and land management on both carbon stocks and emissions, and biodiversity are often complex and non-linear. While REDD+ actions are always expected to contribute to reductions of carbon emissions or increases in carbon sinks, the outcomes for biodiversity can vary greatly, depending on the types of activities, the prior ecosystem state and the wider landscape context. Actions aimed at protecting existing forests from clearance and/or further degradation from fire and the overharvesting of timber and non-timber resources are likely to deliver both the greatest and most immediate benefits for the maintenance of carbon stocks and biodiversity. Where forests are already degraded or converted to non-forest uses, restoration and reforestation can generate rapid increases in carbon stocks but with varying impacts on biodiversity. There is the potential for negative biodiversity impacts if naturally regenerating forest or non-forest ecosystems are converted to plantation forestry. Resolving current uncertainties and information gaps requires developing effective programmes for assessing biodiversity impacts. These can be built on emerging monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems for carbon in order to provide integrated guidance for the design and continuous improvement of national approaches to REDD+. In particular, information on both the spatial distribution of biodiversity and responses to different forms of management intervention can be used to guide strategic investments that achieve both significant emissions reductions and biodiversity conservation benefits.

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