Some of the described projects are situated in the context of the United Nations Framework of Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism. REDD+ may create a financial value for sustainable forest management actions that enhance carbon storage in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions in a post 2012 climate regime.
These initiatives are of main importance for pristine tropical forests that are degrading rapidly as the consequence of unsustainable forest logging. It is documented that the REDD+ initiatives may provoke ecological damages and/or promote ecological co-benefits. In this respect, biodiversity is of main importance since it plays an essential role in the services that ecosystems can provide to the society in the short and long term. Although tropical forests cover less than 10% of the global land area, they represent the largest terrestrial reservoir of biological diversity, from the gene to the habitat level. Several conservation programs (e.g. ECOFAC, CARPE, etc.) include dynamic conservation strategies to accommodate the natural and human-induced changes in climate, but these programs have only the potential to protect a relative small land cover.
Hence, climate change mitigation through the sequestration of carbon and the protection of biodiversity have both been high priorities in the scientific, governmental, and civil society agendas of the last few years, but they have rarely been considered in conjunction. Within the REDD+ strategy to conserve and protect tropical rainforest systems, the sequestration of carbon as a means to attenuate climate change is of primary importance. Biodiversity is generally described as a potential “co-benefit” of forest carbon sequestration, but components of forest biodiversity may overlap to different degrees, trade off with, or be largely independent from those that intervene in carbon sequestration potential Therefore understanding the relationship between C stocks, fluxes and biodiversity as a function of forest management, including forest protection, degradation and forest regeneration, is of main importance. Increased insight in this relationship is needed to maximize the REDD+ gains, to better address the risks of REDD+ initiatives, and to avoid substantial biodiversity loss.