NABU Forest and Climate Monitoring Final Report

B.R. DeVries, M. Herold

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Abstract

This report outlines results of the Forest and Climate Monitoring sub-component of the project entitled “Climate Protection and Preservation of Primary Forests – A Management Model using the Wild Coffee Forests in Ethiopia as an Example” implemented by The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) in the UNESCO Kafa Biosphere Reserve, Ethiopia. Using archived historical satellite data, historical deforestation rates (26,000 hectares from 2000 to 2010) were found to be considerably lower than estimated at the start of project, with most of forest loss occurring in what is now defined as Candidate Core Zone, followed by Buffer Zone forests, releasing approximately 12 million tonnes CO2 during that time period. An average annual deforestation rate of 2600 hectares (ha) per year between 2000 and 2010 was estimated, which is significantly lower than the 26,500ha figure included in the project proposal, owing to a more detailed satellite data analysis in this study. Considering current forest cover (approximately half of the total area of the Biosphere Reserve), these rates would result in complete deforestation after 120 years, a significantly higher value than the 10-20 years included in the project proposal. Deforestation rates were shown to drop to 1000 hectares annual in the years following the onset of the NABU project. Given the estimated annual deforestation rates and CO2 stocks in each of the Biosphere Reserve zones, it was estimated that emissions from deforestation have been reduced by approximately 150,000 tonnes CO2 annually since the start of the project, totalling 600,000 tonnes CO2 from 2010 to 2013. Activity monitoring in a 20km leakage belt showed that deforestation rates just outside of the Biosphere Reserve dropped significantly in the past 2 years. Therefore, assuming similar carbon stocks in the forests found in the leakage belt, it can be concluded that the project has not resulted in any emissions leakage until now. Forest degradation by fuelwood harvesting at the household level was found to represent a considerable share of carbon emissions at nearly 18 million tonnes CO2 gross emissions (not accounting for regrowth) from 2000 to 2010. The distribution of fuel-efficient MIRT stoves to over 11,000 households has had an immediate impact on these emissions, with an estimated total reduction of 44,000 tonnes CO2 annually, totalling 132,000 tonnes CO2 since the time of distribution of the stoves. In addition to this reduction, reforestation sites and community plantations have the potential to add an equivalent of up to 460,000 tonnes CO2 into the terrestrial carbon pool after 15 years. With continued management of these implementation sites, a greater impact could be realized, with up to 630,000 tonnes CO2 sequestered after 30 years and up to 990,000 tonnes CO2 sequestered after 50 years. Finally, support to over 11,000 hectares of forest under Participatory Forest Management (PFM) jurisdiction was found to represent 52,000 tonnes of avoided CO2 emissions annually, representing approximately 210,000 tonnes CO2 since the project start. In addition to assessing reference emissions levels and estimating project impact on CO2 emissions, this monitoring study also featured innovative ground-based monitoring activities, where activity data continuously collected by forest rangers in the Biosphere Reserve were fed into an integrated monitoring system. Local monitoring data were collected by a team of 30 forest rangers, who submitted a total of over 750 disturbance reports from their respective woredas between 2011 and 2013. These reports indicated that agricultural expansion and fuelwood harvesting are the two major direct drivers of deforestation and degradation, respectively. Reports also indicated that these two drivers operate together with expansion of settlements, consistent with the observation that forest change due to expansion of small-holder agriculture in Kafa is a gradual incremental process with combined effects of degradation and deforestation affecting carbon stocks over time.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen University
Number of pages61
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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DeVries, B. R., & Herold, M. (2014). NABU Forest and Climate Monitoring Final Report. Wageningen: Wageningen University.