The Biodiversity and Climate Imperative to Protect Primary Forests: Implications for Climate Policy

New research confirms the critical importance of keeping primary forests intact to maximize biodiversity and climate benefits. However, climate policy does not prioritize activities that protect primary tropical forests, such as conservation or community based forest management. Industrial logging continues to be promoted as a mitigation activity despite the fact that truly sustainable industrial logging in primary tropical forests is not economically viable. As a result the vast majority of industrial logging does not generate sustained yields, results in biodiversity losses, causes substantial carbon emissions, and often leads to forest conversion. International policy also often fails to sufficiently value primary forests more broadly. This workshop will begin with a panel discussion with four objectives: (a) to review the key values provided by primary forests; (b) to review the drivers of primary forest loss, and in particular the latest findings on industrial logging in primary tropical forests; (c) to review examples of community based forest management that have resulted in primary tropical forest conservation; and (d) to review case studies from Central America. This will be followed by a discussion with the audience on shifts in international climate policy necessary to fully value all primary forests with the goal of developing a list of workshop recommendations. Session Chair: Dr. Razeena Omar. Panelists include Dr. Brendan Mackey, Dr. Jonathan Baillie, Cyril Kormos, Virginia Young, Dr. Beatriz Garcia and Dr. Eduard Muller.

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