Carbon, biodiversity & ecosystem services:
exploring co-benefits


Spanning 945,000 km2, the United Republic of Tanzania has nearly two fifths of its land covered by forest. FAO estimates for the country put forest cover loss at about 1% per year between 1990 and 2005, and the Tanzanian National Forestry Programme reports an additional 5,000 km2 of forest being degraded annually. Tanzania is a pilot country of the UN-REDD Programme, which supports developing countries prepare for REDD.

In December 2009, UNEP-WCMC, together with the Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania, undertook a carbon and co-benefits mapping exercise for Tanzania (see summary report and poster). The aim was to develop a new map of carbon stocks and to compare it with existing datasets on various potential ecosystem co-benefits of REDD to identify locations where high values of carbon and other benefits co-occur, as well as to determine the degree to which these are included in protected areas and their exposure to pressures such as fire.

Tanzania map

Findings showed that substantial overlap between areas of high carbon density and high biodiversity priority exist, however some areas of importance for biodiversity fall into lower carbon density regions. Similarly, while areas of high carbon density appeared in the protected area network, large areas of high carbon density were also situated outside protected areas (see map). Spatial distribution differences were also observed for the different co-benefits of REDD. For example, comparison between areas of priority for honey, wax and gum and areas of priority for species conservation showed large areas where no overlap occurred. For fire exposure, results showed that 30% of the total biomass carbon exposed to fire between 2006 -2007 was in high carbon density areas.

Download summary report.

Download poster.