miércoles, 19 de diciembre de 2012

Utilizando el área basal para estimar carbono en biomasa aérea en bosques: La Primavera (Publicado en Forestry, Diciembre 2012)

Este artículo analiza el potencial de utilizar el área basal, que es una variable fácil de medir en campo, para estimar carbono forestal, con base en un inventario forestal.

Titulo: Using basal area to estimate aboveground carbon stocks in forests: La Primavera Biosphere’s Reserve, Mexico.

Increasing use of woody plants for greenhouse gas mitigation has led to demand for rapid, cost-effective estimation of forest carbon stocks. Bole diameter is readily measured and basal area can be correlated to biomass and carbon through application of allometric equations. We explore different forms of allometric equations and analyse the potential to use of equations for individual trees to derive stand-level equations, where the basal area and the average diameter are used as explanatory variables. To test the relationships derived from published allometric equations, we used data from a forest inventory in the oak–pine forests in La Primavera (Mexico). Results show that in two forests with the same species and basal area, there will be more carbon where trees are larger. Allometric equations for individual trees can be transformed into stand-level equations. The values of average diameter weighted by the basal area for these equations can be based on a small sample of large trees once the local relationship between tree size and tree density per hectare is known. This approach could considerably reduce field data requirements in comparison with inventory methods based on enumeration of all trees for estimation of biomass and carbon.

Referencia: Balderas Torres, A., Lovett, J.C. 2012. Using basal area to estimate aboveground carbon stocks in forests: La Primavera Biosphere’s Reserve, Mexico. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research. doi: 10.1093/forestry/cps084

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lunes, 20 de agosto de 2012

Building sustainable global research partnerships – and saving the puma (Publicado con Jon C. Lovett en The Guardian en línea, Agosto 2012)

A UK-funded conservation project in Mexico has involved local landowners, universities and a Grammy award-winning band to achieve a triple bottom line of sustainability, reports Jon Lovett.

Biodiversity conservation has extended the forest, creating wildlife corridors for the puma. Photograph: Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images
Biodiversity conservation has changed in recent years. In the old days things were straightforward. Conservationists identified what they wanted to preserve: a species, a habitat, a grand scenic view, and then they lobbied government to get it protected. Lawmakers then created red-lists, nature reserves and national parks with strict conditions about access and use. But there are two key problems with this approach. Enforcing laws is expensive, and restricting access often denies the poorest and most marginalised. New approaches adopt sustainability principles in which environmental protection must go hand in hand with economic and social goals.
But how does this work in practice? Professor Jon Lovett, who is taking up a new post with the University of Leeds, has just completed a three year project in the La Primavera Biosphere reserve in Mexico funded by the UK Darwin Initiative working closely with the reserve's management authority, local universities including the Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, Mexican NGOs and agricultural land-owning community groups, called 'ejidos'.
Integrating the interests of many different groups is challenging: the ejidos need financially viable land use, the conservation groups want as much nature protected as possible, and the management authority is caught in the middle. The project first brought all the groups together to express their views, then set about estimating the reserve's ecosystem service values and working out some way of paying the ejidos for conservation efforts on their land.
La Primavera is on an old volcano right next to the city of Guadalajara and is covered by oak pine forests. Guadalajara is growing rapidly and La Primavera is getting cut off from other forests, such as that on the nearby Tequila Volcano and Sierra de Quila, by roads and urban expansion. The forest was home to big cats like the puma, but the last one was shot in the 70s. Then, in 2009, about 30 years after the last direct evidence of pumas in the area, camera traps were set up throughout the forest by researchers from a local NGO, Aura Jaguar, and a few months later yielded pictures of a graceful puma.
To get more evidence of the puma I contacted an old friend, Sam Wasser, who has a team of 'conservation canines', dogs trained to search for dung of carnivores, which can then be identified by the DNA they contain. One of his PhD students, Jen White, was working in Mexico on jaguars and she came over to La Primavera with her dog Scooby. They spent a week scouring the forest but DNA analysis revealed only bobcats; recent rains had deteriorated DNA traces in many samples for which results were inconclusive. The puma was obviously still very rare and corridors were needed to connect La Primavera to the other nearby forests.
Land in Mexico can be commonly or privately owned. Most of the land for potential corridors is owned communally by ejidos and is used for livestock ranching but there are also pressures for farming, either for food crops or the agave plant, which is the basis of tequila production. If land use is switched to wildlife corridors, then forest owners will need to be compensated, and the money has to come from somewhere.
Concern over the economic impact of human interference with the Earth's climate means that the natural ability of trees to sequester and store the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide gives them a monetary value for the carbon they contain. So we explored ways of making a monetary link between the carbon dioxide emitted by people in Guadalajara and tree planting and forest conservation. Then we had a stroke of good fortune.
The La Primavera management office put us in in touch with Selva Negra, the environmental NGO of the rock band Maná who were just about to start a world tour promoting their new album Drama y Luz and were looking for a way to offset the tour's carbon emissions. This Grammy award winning band are famous throughout Latin America, but originate from Guadalajara and were keen on supporting a local project for the city. Moreover they were able to meet with the president of Mexico, helping to secure inclusion of the project within existing environmental programmes.
Negotiations were held with the ejido of Ahuisculco located in one of the biological corridors connecting La Primavera to Sierra de Quila to create a conservation and reforestation project. The project was designed for a 10-year period and will provide the resources to conserve more than 1000 hectares of forest and reforest more than 100 hectares. The third pillar of sustainability is that of social development: money on its own is not enough, the community needs to be supported as a whole.
Selva Negra is creating an integrated strategy to promote local development, not only focusing on the commodification of carbon offsets, but also working with local universities on a community project to manage domestic wastes and wastewater, and to monitor water quality in wells and streams. Furthermore Selva Negra and the universities are consulting on the opening a high school education centre in the community – at present students need to go to other cities or just quit school. The plan involves investing an estimated £500,000.
The project therefore has a triple win: biodiversity conservation by strategically extending the forest creating wildlife corridors for the puma and other animals; economic sustainability by linking the producer and consumer of an ecosystem service; and social sustainability by creating community health and education initiatives.
However, it is not easy. We did a great deal of research into the best ways of making the payments and there needed to be lots of negotiations with the Ahuisculco ejido. We were also fortunate to build up partnerships with Selva Negra and Maná. The next stage will be to work out a way for the citizens of Guadalajara, or any city, to pay for the ecosystem services they consume, putting conservation of the planet's life support systems on a firmer footing.
Jon Lovett is project coordinator and professor of Global Challenges at the University of Leeds. Arturo Balderas Torres is a lecturer at ITESO in Guadalajara and is completing a PhD at the University of Twente based on the project.
Fuente Original:

martes, 17 de julio de 2012

Valoración de los servicios forestales de mitigación del cambio climático: El caso de Guadalajara y La Primavera (Publicado en REC, Julio 2012)

The valuation of forest carbon services by Mexican citizens: the case of Guadalajara city and La Primavera biosphere reserve.

Abstract. Adequate demand for, and recognition of, forest carbon services is critical to success of market mechanisms for forestry-based conservation and climate change mitigation. National and voluntary carbon-offsetting schemes are emerging as alternatives to international compliance markets. We developed a choice experiment to explore determinants of local forest carbon-offset valuation. A total of 963 citizens from Guadalajara in Mexico were asked to consider a purchase of voluntary offsets from the neighbouring Biosphere Reserve of La Primavera and from two alternative more distant locations: La Michilía in the state of Durango and El Cielo in Tamaulipas. Surveys were applied in market stall sessions and online using two different sampling methods: the snowball technique and via a market research company. The local La Primavera site attracted higher participation and valuation than the more distant sites. However, groups particularly interested in climate change mitigation or cost may accept cost-efficient options in the distant sites. Mean implicit carbon prices obtained ranged from $6.79 to $15.67/tCO2eq depending on the surveying methodology and profile of respondents. Survey application mode can significantly affect outcome of the experiment. Values from the market stall sessions were higher than those from the snowball and market research samples obtained online; this may be linked to greater cooperation associated with personal interaction and collective action. In agreement with the literature, we found that valuation of forest carbon offsets is associated with cognitive, ethical, behavioural, geographical and economic factors.

Keywords Stated preference methods; Market mechanisms; REDD+; Environmental services; Choice modelling.

Referencia: Balderas Torres, A., MacMillan, D.C., Skutsch, M., Lovett, J.C. 2012. The valuation of forest carbon services by Mexican citizens: the case of Guadalajara city and La Primavera biosphere reserve. Regional Environmental Change, 1-20, DOI: 10.1007/s10113-012-0336-z.

El artículo publicado por Springer se puede consultar en la siguiente dirección: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10113-012-0336-z#page-1

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miércoles, 21 de marzo de 2012

Una propuesta para la distribución de beneficios en REDD+ (Publicado junto con Margaret Skutsch, en Forests, Marzo 2012)

Splitting the Difference: A Proposal for Benefit Sharing in Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). 

Abstract: The objective of REDD+ is to create incentives for the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and for the increase of carbon stocks through the enhancement, conservation and sustainable management of forests in developing countries. As part of the international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), compensation would be estimated in relation to national performance but how these incentives will be channeled within countries has not been specified and there are concerns about how the benefits will be shared among different stakeholders. One central issue is that under the national approach good performance in one region can be offset by underperformance in other regions of the country thus preventing the generation of predictable local incentives. Other issues relate to the need to provide incentives to a wide range of stakeholders and to avoid perverse reactions. To address these and other issues we propose separating the accounting of reduced deforestation, reduced degradation and enhancement of forests. The local attribution of credits would be easier for carbon enhancement, and possibly reduced degradation, than for reduced deforestation, since carbon gains can, in principle, be measured locally in the first two cases, while estimating achievements in reduced deforestation requires a regional approach. This separation in attribution of rewards can help to create adequate incentives for the different stakeholders and overcome some of the problems associated with the design and implementation of national REDD+ programs.

Keywords: avoided emissions; carbon enhancement; forest management; positive incentives

El artículo se publicó en la revista de acceso libre Forests: http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/3/1/137

Este artículo analiza las implicaciones y dificultades para atribuir a nivel local los beneficios de REDD+; el enfoque ha servido como fundamento para la promoción de un mercado voluntario para
captura de carbono en México (actualmente en desarrollo).

Referencia: Balderas Torres A., Skutsch M. 2012. Splitting the Difference: A Proposal for Benefit Sharing in Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Forests. 3(1):137-154.