On Thursday 3 December, the side event "Forests, Landscapes, Climate and Sustainable Development: The Evidence We Need for the Future We Want" took place. This was a joint side event with CIFOR, Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU Jena)/ Wageningen University, and Rainforest Foundation Norway. Prof Martin Herold represented Wageningen University.
This side event considered land-based mitigation and adaptation options, exploring the research and evidence required for a post-2015 climate and development agenda.
Martin Herold spoke on the role of forests in land-based mitigation, noting that 39 countries list REDD+ in their Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs). He said policy makers have to remember that forests represent both carbon sources and carbon sinks, noting the close link between agriculture and deforestation. He urged greater efforts in sustainable commodity supply chains, landscape-scale solutions, and integrating agriculture and forestry.
Moderator Lars Løvold, Rainforest Foundation Norway, stressed that “it is important to avoid undue dependence on the land sector for meeting long-term climate goals.” He explained, however, that alongside a very rapid phase-out of fossil-fuel emissions, land sector approaches can contribute to global mitigation efforts, as well as strengthen rights and livelihoods, and maintain biodiversity and key ecological functions. He urged prioritizing the halting of current land sector emissions, and investments in ecosystem restoration, rights-based approaches and improved governance.
Discussion focused on: how to better integrate REDD+ and climate-smart agriculture; elements of a good ecosystem restoration strategy; and how to integrate forestry into carbon pricing. Participants raised concerns about a lack of focus on appropriate governance of existing forests, and Verchot highlighted the disastrous human health impacts of forest fires, which are often vastly underestimated.