According to a new report, people and climate change have transformed the world’s 10 most protected forests into carbon emitters in the last 20 years.
According to studies by UNESCO, the World Resources Institute and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), deforestation and deforestation, as well as increasing levels and intensities of forest fires, mean that forests release more carbon into the air than they store. Found
World Heritage forests that contributed to the emission included the Sumatran Rainforest, Kinabalu Park in Borneo, Malaysia, and the Blue Mountains in Australia.
Yosemite and Grand Canyon in the United States were also net emitters.
“Our finding that even some of the most iconic and best-protected forests, such as those found on World Heritage sites, may actually contribute to climate change is worrying, and this climate brings light evidence of the severity of the emergency,” said Tales Carvalho Res. , UNESCO and co-author of the report.
The researchers used global satellite mapping, including ground-level monitoring, to estimate the gross and net carbon absorbed and emitted by the World Heritage Forest between 2001 and 2020, and to determine the causes of some emissions.
They found that, overall, World Heritage forests absorb the equivalent of about 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, equivalent to about half of the UK’s annual emissions from fossil fuels.
But they also found that some sites, despite having a net carbon sync as a whole, show a spike in the emission or a clear upward trajectory that threatens the power of future syncs.
“We have by far the most detailed picture that plays an important role in mitigating forest climate change in World Heritage Sites,” Rusende said. “All forests should be resources in the fight against climate change.”
There are 257 World Heritage forests around the world, covering a combined area of 69 million hectares (170 million acres) – almost twice the size of Germany – and represent some of the world’s most biodiversity ecosystems.
They not only absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but also store substantial amounts of carbon – about 13 billion tons, more than the carbon in Kuwait’s proven oil reserves.
Researchers have warned that continued landscape fragmentation and degradation as a result of human activity could lead to more frequent and severe climate-related fires, urging governments to strengthen protection and improve land management in World Heritage Sites as well as their surroundings. .
It recommends integrating forest protection with global climate strategies.
“Protecting World Heritage Sites from growing fragmentation and growing threats will be the focus of our combined efforts to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Tim Badman, IUCN’s World Heritage Program Director, in a statement.
10 carbon-emitting World Heritage Forests
The tropical rainforest heritage of Sumatra, Indonesia
Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras
Yosemite National Park, USA
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, Canada / US
Barbarton Makhonjawa Mountains, South Africa
Kinabalu Park, Malaysia
UVS Nur Basin, Russian Federation / Mongolia
Grand Canyon National Park, USA
Greater Blue Mountains Area, Australia
Morne Troyes Pitton National Park, Dominica