Restoring Ecosystems Biggest Untapped Ally in Fighting Climate Change

temperate rainforest photo

Just a reminder, both tropical and temperate rainforests store lots of carbon. Photo: Brian Garrett via flickr.

One key area which is thankfully starting to get more attention, if not action, in terms of combatting climate change is preservation and restoration of ecosystems. In fact The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project is saying "natural systems represent one of the biggest untapped allies" in combatting climate change, because of their carbon storage potential -- and that incorporating funding for forests in a global climate deal should be a key priority:TEEB highlights the fact that in addition to absorbing some 15% of global carbon emissions, forests provide a whole range of ecosystem services that are worthy of protecting. In addition, funding efforts to preserve forests such as REDD could also be an important tool in addressing poverty.

Investing in Ecosystems = Big Returns
Nothing new there for most TreeHugger readers, but here's the real payoff: TEEB points out that the rate of return on investments to preserve the Earth's ecological infrastructure can offer a great return on investment. An investment in maintaining natural areas of $45 billion could preserve some $5 trillion a year in (currently unpaid for) ecosystem services.

More info: TEEB: Climate Issues Update, September 2009 [PDF]

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