The richer a landscape in terms of biodiversity, the more CO2 it can store, is the expectation based on previous research. Researchers are now finding out how it works in the Amazon and Mexico, and what the options are for policy makers.
More than a hundred researchers, including 25 of Wageningen UR, work together in the project 'Role of biodiversity in climate change mitigation' (ROBIN). With funding from the Seventh Framework Programme of the EU, the relationship is examined between biodiversity and carbon storage in the Amazon of Bolivia, Brazil and Guyana, and in Mexico.
Tree species differ in the way they use water, light and CO2. "We investigate how much carbon different forests types can save and hold", says Marielos Peña-Claros of the
Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group of Wageningen University. "The optimum is probably a system with a lot of diversity." To measure the effect tree types and numbers are counted and the function of their diversity is examined. "The uniqueness of ROBIN is that we can make predictions for the whole region using remote sensing and computer models."
The research provides models and other tools for policy makers in making landuse decisions. The research may also feed negotiations on REDD+. Increased insights in the role of biodiversity in storing CO2, might increase the relevance of biodiversity in these negotiations.