Carbon, biodiversity & ecosystem services:
exploring co-benefits


The landscapes of Honduras form part of the MesoAmerica biodiversity hotspot, encompassing a wide range of ecosystem types from tropical rainforests to mountain ecosystems (Myers 2000). In 2005 Honduras had nearly 50 000 km2 of varied forest cover (FAO 2006), including tropical rainforests, cloud forests, mangroves, and coniferous forests, making it rich in biodiversity. However, it has also had one of the world's highest deforestation rates, losing about 3% of its forest cover annually since 1990. This has contributed to global greenhouse gas emissions, and has exerted extreme pressure on the country's biodiversity. The below map shows that 4% of the land area of Honduras is high in both carbon and overlapping distributions of threatened species. Such high priority areas hold 18% of the country's total carbon. As 22% of the areas important for threatened species have low carbon storage, some threatened species may be affected by pressures displaced by reducing land use change in high carbon areas.

In November 2009, UNEP-WCMC conducted an initial illustrative study of the relationship between carbon and biodiversity in Honduras (link to poster). We are now discussing with Honduran colleagues how best to develop this further as a support to national decision making.

Carbon density map