Carbon & co-benefits
Emissions from land use change, mainly tropical forest loss, contribute an estimated 17.4% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2007). The maintenance and enhancement of natural carbon stocks, e.g. through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), is now considered a key climate change mitigation measure.
Maintaining natural carbon stocks can generate co-benefits, benefits that are additional to climate change mitigation effects. Ecosystem co-benefits, which include biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, derive directly from maintaining natural ecosystems. Other co-benefits derive from the mechanisms used and the social and political changes needed to implement them, such as clarification of land tenure and enhanced participation in decision making. These are sometimes termed 'social' co-benefits. The types, mixture and scale of co-benefits vary between approaches and locations.