Enrichment Planting in Secondary Forests: a Promising Clean Development Mechanism to Increase Terrestrial Carbon Sinks

Paquette, Alain; Hawryshyn, Jessica; Senikas, Alexandra Vyta; Potvin, Catherine
June 2009
Ecology & Society;2009, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
With the increasing need to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations, afforestation and reforestation (A/R) projects are being implemented under the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and under the voluntary carbon (C) market. The specific objective of A/R C projects is to enhance terrestrial sinks. They could also provide low-income communities in developing countries with a source of revenue, as well as a number of ecological and social services. However, feasibility issues have hindered implementation of A/R CDMs. We propose enrichment planting (EP) in old fallow using high-value native timber species as a land-use alternative and a small-scale C projects opportunity. We present EP in the context of ongoing work in a poor indigenous community in eastern Panama. We consider economic risks and advantages and concordance with existing modalities under the compliance market. The potential storage capacity for EP at the site of our study was 113 Mg C ha-1, which is comparable to other land uses with high C storage, such as industrial teak plantations and primary forest. Because secondary forests show high aboveground biomass production, C projects using EP could harness large amounts of atmospheric C while improving diversity. Carbon projects using EP can also provide high levels of social, cultural, and ecological services by planting native tree species of traditional importance to local communities and preserving most of the secondary forest's ecological attributes. Therefore, EP planting could be considered as a way to promote synergies between two UN Conventions: climate change and biodiversity.


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