Carbon, biodiversity & ecosystem services:
exploring co-benefits


Carbon Storage in Ecosystems

Terrestrial ecosystems play a vital role in the global carbon cycle, helping to store almost three times as much carbon as is in the atmosphere. Maintaining and enhancing existing carbon reservoirs is one of the highest priorities for climate change mitigation. More


Biodiversity encompasses the variety of life on earth, and is a prerequisite for ecosystem services. Efforts to conserve biodiversity alongside activities that maintain and enhance carbon stocks could maximise this beneficiary role, including biodiversity’s role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. More

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the resources and processes provided by ecosystems that are of benefit to humankind. Maintaining and enhancing carbon stocks can help to secure important ecosystem services at the same time. More

Protected Areas

The global protected areas network plays an important role in conserving the world’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Determining the amount of carbon stored in protected areas can help to inform decisions about mitigation actions and discussions on the role of protected areas in securing carbon. Concerns about the vulnerability of carbon within some protected areas under pressure from forest loss and degradation could prompt actions to strengthen their management. More

Policy Context

Recent negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have indicated that co-benefits are likely to be included in future mitigation activities, particularly those related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). More

UN-REDD Programme

The UN-REDD Programme supports countries to develop capacity to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and to implement a future REDD mechanism in a post-2012 climate regime. UNEP-WCMC is supporting UNEP's role in the UN-REDD Programme. More


The REDD-PAC project supports the design of national and regional REDD+ policies that safeguard and enhance ecosystem services, in particular those services distinguished by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. More