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Big data project reveals where carbon-stocking projects in Africa provide the greatest benefits
Date:12/19/2013

they could thus show where in Africa carbon-stocking projects would be particularly profitable.

People and biodiversity factors are also important

In reality, such a map of where most carbon could be stored is probably of limited use for deciding where to plan carbon projects, because there may be a number of constraints to setting up forestation projects to stock carbon. For example, a densely populated agricultural area with high levels of rainfall and temperatures might bring high carbon returns; however, it would be unlikely to be profitable as land value in these areas is high, and because it would be problematic to have to relocate people. Therefore, such constraints must be considered when planning carbon forests.

In addition, it might be a good idea to consider whether there are wider benefits to setting up such projects.

"We used our map which showed where carbon forests would bring high returns, to ask where carbon-stocking by forestation would not only be highly profitable, but where it would also minimize conflict with people, and benefit biodiversity and people", says Michelle Greve from the University of Pretoria, who led the project as part of her PhD at Aarhus University.

"Therefore, we applied a method to optimally select areas which would not only have high carbon returns, but would also conserve native biodiversity and support ecosystem services, that is, services that the environment provides which benefit humans. The areas also had to have low land value and human population density, so as to reduce conflict with people, and high levels of governance, because setting up projects in areas with high levels of violence and corruption would be too risky and have too low chances of success", Michelle Greve explains.

Michelle Greve and her colleagues could thus identify areas where carbon projects would have wider co-benefits. An example of an area that showed high carbon returns, bu
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Contact: Michelle Greve
michelle_greve@yahoo.com
27-124-202-487
Aarhus University
Source:Eurekalert  

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