Climate change: why biodiversity matters
EU-funded ROBIN has advanced scientific understanding of the roles tropical forests and their rich, biodiverse ecosystems play in mitigating climate change and providing benefits or 'services' to local communities.
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Tropical forest ecosystems are among the biggest stores of carbon, making their role essential to climate change mitigation programmes. ROBIN’s research helps to fill knowledge gaps on how much and what types of biodiversity sustain the ecosystem processes and services required for climate change mitigation.
“ROBIN has demonstrated that biodiversity is part of the solution towards mitigating climate and adapting to change,” says project coordinator Terry Parr of the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council. “We have advanced understanding of the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services in tropical forests and their influences on human well-being.”
The project also provided guidance on land-use planning and options for climate change mitigation, he added.
The project’s guidelines, proposals and modelling tools are feeding into policymakers’ debates on ways to strike an optimal balance between protecting forests and biodiversity, and ensuring communities continue to enjoy the economic and social benefits derived from them, Parr says.
ROBIN’s researchers have provided input on the project’s results to policymakers and other stakeholders in the EU and around the world. For example, ROBIN has held meetings to discuss its results with Members of the European Parliament. Project researchers also coordinated a briefing on the topic during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.
Meanwhile ROBIN’s researchers are continuing to publish results in peer-reviewed scientific journals, adding to the knowledge base on the role of biodiversity in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
In Latin America they are promoting the use of the monitoring techniques based on remote sensing and the collection of field data, particularly in the countries directly involved in the project: Mexico, Brazil, Guyana and Bolivia.
Mexican project partners are also leading an initiative to apply the methods in the countries of the Pacific Alliance, Parr says.
“The next Conference of the Parties for the Convention on Biological Diversity will take place in Mexico in 2016,” he adds. “We are planning to use results of the ROBIN project at that meeting as a contribution to meeting global biodiversity targets in 2020.”