Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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3.6.2. Avoiding Deforestation

Any reduction in the rate of deforestation has the benefit of avoiding a significant source of carbon emissions (especially in the tropics) and reducing other environmental and social problems associated with deforestation. Current rates of tropical deforestation-estimated to be 0.7 percent of the remaining forest area per year (FAO, 1997)-are a primary cause of global biodiversity loss (Heywood, 1995; Stork, 1997). Deforestation and degradation of upland catchments can disrupt hydrological systems, replacing year-round water flows in downstream areas with flood and drought regimes (Myers, 1997). Deforestation can also diminish the social, aesthetic, and spiritual values of forests.
Limiting deforestation forgoes the opportunity to utilize the land for other purposes, such as agriculture or other developed uses, therefore would potentially be subject to the same opportunity costs that might arise with afforestation and reforestation.

Although there are often synergies between increased carbon storage through ARD activities and other desirable associated impacts, no general rules can be applied; impacts must be assessed individually for each specific case. Associated impacts can often be significant, and the overall desirability of specific ARD activities can be greatly affected by their associated impacts.

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