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Gauging the impact of tropical forest logging: Winrock develops new method for quantifying carbon emissions
Date:4/2/2014

ARLINGTON, Va. (April 2, 2014) Researchers at Winrock International have developed a first-of-its-kind method for estimating carbon emissions from forest degradation caused by selective logging in tropical regions. Refined over a period of 15 years and tested in six countries, the approach is highlighted in an article authored by Winrock's Ecosystems Services experts, Timothy Pearson, Sandra Brown and Felipe Casarim published April 1 in Environmental Research Letters.

Until now, efforts for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in developing countries have focused on deforestation, which has proven, robust methods for estimating associated carbon emissions. In contrast, there are no well-established methods for estimating carbon emissions associated with forest degradation. The new method developed by the Winrock team measures logging-associated emissions from all sources: the extracted timber, the incidental damage to the surrounding forest, and the logging infrastructure such as roads, skid trails and log decks. The estimate of the total emissions hinges on the simple, readily available statistic of extracted volume.

Winrock first began exploring ways of measuring carbon emissions from logging in 1998 as part of an early forest-based greenhouse gas mitigation project in Bolivia. Over the years, with support mainly from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Winrock staff refined and tested the approach for use across the tropics. After applying the method to logging activities in nine countries, they found that the average emissions from logging were about 12 percent of those from deforestation, although the actual range was wide, varying from 6 to 68 percent.

Study results indicate that the relative impact of carbon emissions from logging varies from country to country, depending on the amount of ongoing deforestation and the tropical timber harvesting practices used. Coun
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Contact: Megan Davenport
mdavenport@winrock.org
501-280-3076
Winrock International
Source:Eurekalert

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