CLIM-FO-L No. 01-04


No. 2/2004

1) Research/Publications on Forest and Climate Change

Journal: Forest Ecology and Management

Volume: 189 Issue: 1-3 year 2004

- Research Report - Evaluating tree carbon predictions for beech (Fagus sylvatica) in western Germany

Joosten, R. - Schuhmacher, J. - Wirth, C. - Schulte, A., pp 87-96

Abstract:Most industrial countries have implemented national forest inventories (NFIs) with systematic and permanent sample plots. These data are principally an excellent database for carbon accounting at tree-level. The purpose of this study was to establish tree-level functions for predicting aboveground biomass carbon of european beech . In a subsequent step these functions were applied to inventory and the error of the predictions was assessed. The regression equations were based on a model dataset of 116 trees of beech (Fagus sylvatica) sampled in four climatic regions of the western German state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The tree parameters diameter at breast height (d), tree height (h) and as a proxy for climatic conditions the altitude (alt) were used as predictor variables. The estimated mean relative prediction error of the favoured d-h and d-h-alt models at tree-level was 16,7 and 15,7, respectively. The carbon content of wood ranged between 48.9 50.7 %, respectively. Beech forest in NRW stored on average 120 Mg ha-1 in the aboveground biomass (excluding understorey and reserved beeches). The total prediction error was less then +/- 2 %. Based on such a high precision and due to the fact that the identical inventory plots were measured, stock changes in the order of 1% can be detected. The main uncertainty arises from the sampling error of the inventory grid. Comparing the predicted increment and the potential harvest during the next decade suggests that the carbon stock stabilises within the range of uncertainty. Further, we predicted the biomass of the 116 sample trees with six published, mostly stand-specific functions. The relative mean prediction error of the calculated aboveground carbon content was about +/- 10 % over all sample trees. But most of the predictions were systematically biased. This illustrates the need to use regional functions based on a large model data set.

Journal: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

Volume: 9 (1) Year: 2004

- Report - Climate impact from peat utilisation in Sweden

Zetterberg, L. - Uppenberg, S. - Åhman, M. - pp 77-95

Abstract: The climate impact from the use of peat for energy production in Sweden has been evaluated in terms of contribution to atmospheric radiative forcing. This was done by attempting to answer the question `What will be the climate impact if one would use 1 m2 of mire for peat extraction during 20 years?. Two different methods of after-treatment were studied: afforestation and restoration of wetland. The climate impact from a peatland - wetland scenario and a peatland - forestation - bioenergy scenario was compared to the climate impact from coal, natural gas and forest residues. Sensitivity analyses were performed to evaluate which parameters that are important to take into consideration in order to minimize the climate impact from peat utilisation. In a `multiple generation scenario we investigate the climate impact if 1 Mega Joule (MJ) of energy is produced every year for 300 years from peat compared to other energy sources. The main conclusions from the study are: The accumulated radiative forcing from the peatland - forestation - bioenergy scenario over a long time perspective (300 years) is estimated to be 1.35 mJ/m2/m2 extraction area assuming a medium-high forest growth rate and medium original methane emissions from the virgin mire. This is below the corresponding values for coal 3.13 mJ/ m2/ m2 extraction area and natural gas, 1.71 mJ/ m2/ m2 extraction area, but higher than the value for forest residues, 0.42 mJ/ m2/ m2 extraction area. A `best-best-case scenario, i.e. with high forest growth rate combined with high `avoided methane (CH4) emissions, will generate accumulated radiative forcing comparable to using forest residues for energy production. A `worst-worst-case scenario, with low growth rate and low `avoided CH4 emissions, will generate radiative forcing somewhere in between natural gas and coal. It is important to consider CH4 emissions from the virgin mire when choosing mires for utilization. Low original methane emissions give significantly higher total climate impact than high original emissions do. Afforestation on areas previously used for peat extraction should be performed in a way that gives a high forest growth rate, both for the extraction area and the surrounding area. A high forest growth rate gives lower climate impact than a low forest growth rate. There are great uncertainties related to the data used for emissions and uptake of greenhouse gases in restored wetlands. The mechanisms affecting these emissions and uptake should be studied further.

Journal: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

Volume: 8 Issue: 4 year: 2003

- Research Report - LULUCF - Estimating baseline carbon emissions for the Eastern Panama Canal watershed

Dale, V.H. - Brown, S. - Calderón, M.O. - Montoya, A.S. - Martínez, R.E. pp323-348

Abstract:To participate in the potential market for carbon credits based on changes in the use and management of the land, one needs to identify opportunities and implement land-use based emissions reductions or sequestration projects. A key requirement of land-based carbon (C) projects is that any activity developed for generating C benefits must be additional to business-as-usual. A rule-based model was developed and used that estimates changes in land-use and subsequent carbon emissions over the next twenty years using the Eastern Panama Canal Watershed (EPCW) as a case study. These projections of changes in C stocks serve as a baseline to identify where opportunities exist for implementing projects to generate potential C credits and to position Panama to be able to participate in the emerging C market by developing a baseline under scenarios of business-as-usual and new-road development. The projections show that the highest percent change in land use for the new-road scenario compared to the business-as-usual scenario is for urban areas, and the greatest cause of C emission is from deforestation. Thus, the most effective way to reduce C emissions to the atmosphere in the EPCW is by reducing deforestation. In addition to affecting C emissions, reducing deforestation would also protect the soil and water resources of the EPCW. Yet, under the current framework of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), only credits arising from reforestation are allowed, which after 20 years of plantation establishment are not enough to offset the C emissions from the ongoing, albeit small, rate of deforestation in the EPCW. The study demonstrates the value of spatial regional projections of changes in land cover and C stocks: The approach helps a country identify its potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emission liabilities into the future and provides opportunity for the country to plan alternative development pathways. It could be used by potential project developers to identify which types of projects will generate the largest C benefits and provide the needed baseline against which a project is then evaluated. Spatial baselines, such as those presented here, can be used by governments to help identify development goals. The development of such a baseline, and its expansion to other vulnerable areas, well positions Panama to respond to the future market demand for C offsets. It is useful to compare the projected change in land cover under the business-as-usual scenario to the goals set by Law 21 for the year 2020. Suggested next steps for analysis include using the modeling approach to explore land-use, C dynamics and management of secondary forests and plantations, soil C gains or losses, sources of variability in the land use and C stock projections, and other ecological implications and feedbacks resulting from projected changes in land cover.

Journal: Environment, Development and Sustainability

Volume: 6 Issue: 1-2 year: 2004

- Research - Carbon Balance - Soil Respiration and Carbon Storage of an Acrisol Under Forest and different Cultivations in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

Maddock, J.E.L. - Dos Santos, M.B.P - Alves de Sá, S.R.N. - de A. Machado, P.L.O. pp 175-182

Abstract: Soil respiration rates of a clay-loam textured Acrisol under different uses (Atlantic forest, manioc, horticulture and pasture) from Rio de Janeiro State were measured. The relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and soil physico-chemical properties were investigated. Rates of CO2 emission of two sites (Atlantic forest and horticulture) were also evaluated in different seasons in 1997 and 1998. In the forest site, monthly means of measured respiration rates showed good correlation with soil temperature in the range 19.6-24.1°C (r2 = 0.89). In the horticulture site, no change was observed with soil moisture alone, in the range 3.0-13.2 wt%. In the horticulture soil, even when the surface soil was very dry, respiration rates increased in the hot, wetter summer but remained higher than the mean flux from forest soil. The CO2 emission flux of the Acrisol under different use showed good correlation with soil temperature (r2 = 0.72) and moisture (r2 = 0.61).

Journal: Environment, Development and Sustainability

Volume: 6 Issue: 1-2 year: 2004

- Report - Ecology - Climate Variability and Deforestation-Reforestation Dynamics in the Philippines

Moya, T.B. - Malayang III, B.S. pp 261-277

Abstract:Changes in the conditions in the warm pool in the Pacific region are reflected in the changes in the local climate system of the Philippines. Both El Niñno and La Niñna episodes in the Pacific Oceans introduce high variability into the local climate pattern, especially rainfall, in the Philippines. Whereas El Niñno appears when annual rainfall is =10% lower than normal annual rainfall, La Niñna occurs when annual rainfall is at least equal to the normal. About 15.7 million ha of forest cover had been lost between 1903 and 1998, but only 1.64 million had been reforested in the same period, indicating the presence of unbelievably low ecological stability. Apart from this, the denuded forests freed about 8.24 × 109 Mg C into the atmospheric greenhouse pools. Neither deforestation nor reforestation was undertaken with deliberate regard to the occurrences of El Niñno or La Niñna. Very high rates of deforestation were observed to coincide with or precede strong El Niñno or Niñna episodes, thus confounding further the ecological instability of denuded forest systems, especially those with slope =18%. Similarly, the reforestation cycle indicates that saplings are at most 5 years old every time an El Niñno or a La Niñna occurs; in most reforestation schemes, saplings are only 1-2 years old when these events occur. These reforested areas are vulnerable to drought in El Niñno years and to high runoff erosion during La Niñna years. Because they are young, saplings in reforested areas dry easily and pose hazards to forest fires, which were observed to destroy larger tracts of forest cover during El Niñno more so when annual rain =10% below the normal. In retrospect, the study indicated that had forests been exploited with conscious regard to the recurrence of El Niñno or La Niñna episodes, ecological impacts could at least be toned down. In the same vein, reforestation should have been more successful it were implemented with due considerations to extreme climate variability. Once trees were planted, the weather elements become more crucial than politicians meddling and other socio-economic factors to the growth and development of reforested sites.

Journal: Biodiversity and Conservation

Volume: 13 Issue: 3 year: 2004

- Research Report - Biodiversity - Tree diversity change in remaining primary mixed-broadleaved Korean pine forest under climate change and human activities

Chen, X. - Li, B.L. pp 563-577

Abstract:Studying biodiversity change in existing typical ecosystems of the world under possible global climate change and local human activities is important for diversity conservation. An adapted forest dynamics model is used to simulate tree diversity change of the remaining primary mixed-broadleaved Korean pine forest (RPMKPF) in northeast China under global climate change and local human activities for the next 50 years. Human activities include logging, which removes all big trees (DBH > 50 cm), removing all individuals of each single species and all species of each functional type (shade tolerant, shade intolerant and medium type tree species). As results for RPMKPF, the a index of tree diversity decreases under climate change, but it increases significantly under a combination of climate change and logging. Removing all individuals of each single species significantly affects the tree diversity of the ecosystem. After the removal of shade tolerant species, both a and ßcindices of tree diversity experience a significant change. The a index decreases significantly under climate change when shade intolerant or medium type tree species are removed, but the ßcindex does not change significantly. The results of this study have implications for tree diversity management in RPMKPF under climate change and human activities.

Journal: Indian Forester

Volume: 129:9 year: 2003

- Research ¿ Biodiversity - Climate change and its impact on forest biodiversity

Rawat, V. - Singh, D. - Kumar, P. pp 787-798

Abstract:Climate change is a phenomenon of completing over time scale of hundred, thousands and millions of years. The features like increased flooding, landslide and storm damage, increased death from heat strokes, failure of traditional agricultural system through drought are all scenarios, which could be due to climate change. Global warming may also have serious implications for forest ecosystems, especially for plantations and the matching of tree species with sites, which may be affected by changed climatic conditions. Forests play an important role in sequestration of carbon globally. The study of potential impact of climate change on existing forest ecosystem is inevitably required for the further mitigation to the problem. The present paper examines the impact of global climate change on forest biodiversity.

Journal: Soil Science Society of America

Volume: 67 (6) year: 2003

- Report - Ecology - Modeling soil carbon from forest and pasture ecosystems of Amazon, Brazil

Cerri, C.E.P. - Coleman, K. - Jenkinson, D.S. - Bernoux, M. - Victoria, R. pp 1879-1887

Abstract: Conversion of tropical forest to agricultural management has important implications for C storage in soils and global climate change. The Nova Vida Ranch in the Western Brazilian Amazon basin provided a unique opportunity to study the conversion of tropical forests to pastures established in 1989,1987,1983,1979,1972,1951, and 1911, in comparison with uncleared forest. Soils were analyzed for organic C, bulk density, total N, pH, clay content, and biomass C. The forest soil contained 34 Mg C ha-1 in the 0- to 30-cm layer: modeling clearance and conversion to pasture caused an initial fall in the C stock, followed by a slow rise. After 88 yr, the pasture soil contained 53% more C than the forest soil. The increase in total N on conversion to pasture was less marked, which led to C/N ratios in the pasture soils being higher than in the forest soil. The Rothamsted C turnover model (RothC-26.3) was used to simulate changes in the 0- to 10- and 0- to 30-cm layer of soils when forest was converted to pasture. The model predicted that conversion to pasture would cause a 54% increase in the stock of organic C in the top 30 cm of soil in 100 yr. The modeled input of plant C to the 0- to 30-cm layer of soil under pasture was assumed to be 8.28 Mg C ha-1 yr-1. The model provided a reasonable estimate of the microbial biomass (BIO) C in the 0- to 10-cm soil layer. This was an independent test of model performance, because no adjustments were made to the model to generate output.

Journal: Nature

Volume: 427 year: 2004

- Thematic Edition - Feeling the heat: Climate change and biodiversity loss

Many plant and animal species are unlikely to survive climate change. New analyses suggest that 15-37% of a sample of 1,103 land plants and animals would eventually become extinct as a result of climate changes expected by 2050. For some of these species there will no longer be anywhere suitable to live. Others will be unable to reach places where the climate is suitable. A rapid shift to technologies that do not produce greenhouse gases, combined with carbon sequestration, could save 15-20% of species from extinction.

Journal: Nature

- Letters to Nature - Extinction risk from climate change

Thomas, C.D. - Cameron, A. - Green, A.R. - Bakkenes, M. - Beaumont, L.J. - Collingham, Y.C. - Erasmus, B.F.N. - de Siqueira, M.F. - Grainger, A. - Hannah, L. - Hughes, L. - Huntley, B. - van Jaarsveld, A.S. - Midgley, G.F. - Miles, L. - Ortega-Huerta, M.A. - Peterson, A.T. -Phillips, O.L. - Williams, S.E. pp 145-148

Climate change over the past 30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species and has been implicated in one species-level extinction. Using projections of species distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earths terrestrial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a power-law relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15-37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be committed to extinction. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction (18%) than mid-range (24%) and maximum-change (35%) scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.

Journal: Nature

Volume: 427 year: 2004

- News and views - Ecology: Clouded futures

Pounds, J.A. - Puschendorf, R. pp 107-109
Global warming is altering the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species. Application of a basic law of ecology predicts that many will vanish if temperatures continue to rise.

2) Forest and Climate Change News


Do massive asphalt and concrete "urban heat islands" like Houston or Atlanta really help ratchet up the global thermostat? What about huge tracts of farmland like those that span the Midwest? ¿ according to Dr. Kalnays study, published in the journal Nature last spring, urbanization, agriculture, and other human changes to landscapes in the US - quite aside from CO2 - account for as much as 40 percent of the temperature rise over the past 40 years - much larger than previously believed.

(from The Christian Science Monitor)


Indonesia has been estimated to have some 2 to 5 per cent of the CDM host country market, but has yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, due to lengthy bureaucratic procedures. In the meantime, CDM project developers are put on hold.

(from Pointcarbon)


COP-9 cleared the roads for afforestation and reforestation (A&R) projects under the CDM (see ViewPoint). However, before tCERs and lCERs start entering the CDM market, Point Carbon asked CDM market actors and sinks experts what they believe will be the market implications of the A&R decisions made at COP-9.

(From CDM Monitor)


Background Brief-Carbon Sinks, Climate Change and Sustainable Development

The BioCarbon Fund has been approved by the World Bank Executive Board of Directors and opened for Participant contributions on Wednesday, November 26, 2003. It is expected to become operational in June, 2004.


Following the draft UK allocation plan under the EU emissions trading scheme last week, UK companies have stepped up their interest in CDM projects as a means to reduce their CO2 emissions. UK companies could purchase tens of millions tonnes of CO2 through CDM over the next few years.

(from Pointcarbon)


Animals and plants in the Andes may be particularly vulnerable to rapid global warming, new research suggests.

(from SciDev.Net)


Many species of plants in the Amazon cloud forest may not survive the dramatic climate changes forecast to occur within the next 100 years, according to a study that tracks 48,000 years of climate change in the region.

(from Newswise)

3) Forest and Climate Change Info & Events


15.02.2004 Good Practice Guidance and other information on land use, land use change and forestry

Views on the draft tables of the common reporting format (CRF) for LULUCF Activities.

28.02.2004 Land use, land use change and forestry: definitions and modalities for including afforestation and reforestation under Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol

Views on simplified modalities and procedures for small-scale afforestation and reforestation project activities under the CDM

Conference: Climate Change in New England and Eastern Canada: Natural Resource Impacts and Adaptation Responses

March 15-16, 2004 in Boston

The Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers is announcing a Symposium on adaptation to climate change. Speakers at the Symposium will discuss climate change in relation to forestry, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, biodiversity and wildlife. You can get a copy of the draft agenda, the save-the-date card, and the registration form for the Symposium from the New England Governors Conference website (

The publication is available at:

(from Climate-l)


22 March 2004 - 23 March 2004. Rotorua, New Zealand.

This conference will focus on the role of carbon sequestration and bionergy projects in national and international greenhouse gas markets. Participants are expected to discuss policies, accounting and credit trading for bioenergy and carbon sequestration projects, as well as the relationship between emissions trading systems and the Kyoto Protocol¿s flexible mechanisms.

For more information contact:

Kimberly Robertson, Force Consulting Ltd, New Zealand;

tel:+64-7-343-9559"; fax:+64-7-343-9557";;



Lima, Peru. March 1-3, 2004.

For sink experts from developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, by invitation only. The partner organizations continue last year¿s programme by offering sink negotiators from developing countries a neutral forum for technical discussions.


4) New Publications



Unep Risø Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development, Denmark (2003)

The CDM Information and Guidebook attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of the CDM, its project cycle and related issues such as linkage with sustainable development goals, financing and market intelligence. The appendices present frequently asked questions and answers, a short overview of existing guidelines, and a list of project categories which may be eligible for the CDM in the future.



By Lugo, A.E.; Helmer, E.

Abstract: We define a new forest as one whose tree species composition or ranking of dominant species is new in the biosphere. New forests develop all the time as the earth¿s biota evolve and adjust to environmental change. However, humans are accelerating the rate of new forest formation by dramatically changing environmental conditions. Our focus is on new forests that regenerate naturally on degraded lands in Puerto Rico. Landscape analysis and literature review revealed that these regenerating stands are highly fragmented (60 percent were < 1 ha in 1991), function as refugia for organisms, and at 60 to 80 yr old have similar species richness and structural features as native stands of similar age. However, they exhibit important differences from native forests. New forests in Puerto Rico are young (<100 yr). They have fewer endemic species and large trees (> 35 cm dbh) than native forests; they have higher soil bulk density and lower soil carbon and litter stocks; and they accumulate aboveground biomass, basal area, and soil carbon more slowly than forests of similar age that native species dominate. New forests also exhibit high dominance during forest establishment, which includes dominance by alien tree species. These alien tree species play an important role in establishing and maintaining forest cover. Furthermore, some alien species form canopies that facilitate forest regeneration. We suggest that, as a response to novel environmental conditions that humans introduce to the planet, new forests will become increasingly prevalent in the biosphere.

(from UNESCO - MAB)


By: German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) (2003)

This report recommends a policy strategy for causing contraction and convergence of greenhouse gas emissions by developing and industrialised countries. It also considers the relationship of such a policy to the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto process needs to continue, but policy thinking needs to be extended beyond its 2012 time frame. It needs to be supplemented with further policy agreements.

Chapter 4 - LULUCF: Negotiating a separate protocol for natural carbon stocks
To prevent further valuable carbon stocks being lost, there is an urgent need to contain deforestation and the associated emissions. In the opinion of the Council, the accounting procedure for biological sources and sinks of greenhouse gases agreed in the Kyoto Protocol is not suited to provide incentives to preserve the key ecosystems of relevance to climate protection. The Council therefore recommends negotiating, in addition to the Kyoto Protocol, a separate agreement on the conservation of natural carbon stocks.

Available online at:

5) Climate Change Jobs

UNFCCC Internal/External Vacancy Announcement


Methods subprogramme (Land use, land-use change and forestry - LULUCF)



TITLE AND GRADE: Programme Officer, P-4

DUTY STATION: Bonn, Germany


Please be informed that the FAO Professional Vacancy Announcements mentioned below are available at the following internet address:


6) Websites of Interest



The Federal Environmental Agency, Germany (UBA) and Ecofys Germany have launched the new website on "Future International Action on Climate Change Network".

The aim of this initiative is twofold: First, the website provides regularly updated information on activities related to the discussions on future international action on climate change, including new commitments under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. It includes a list of active players and involved organizations with contact details, currently discussed design concepts and issues, ongoing and completed discussion processes and announcements of recent literature and conferences.

Second, the website provides the opportunity for online "Forum discussions". General questions can be asked and discussions on specific topics will be organized.

(from Climate-l)

South Asian Forum on Clean Development Mechanism

Reports and papers

2 - 4 February 2004, New Delhi

International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the World Banks Carbon Finance Unit, and the Asian Development Bank Organized



The xobjective of CLIM-FO-L is to be a forum for sharing current information and experiences about climate change and forestry amongst experts and non-experts. CLIM-FO-L will send periodically to subscribers synopsis of contributions, indicating how to obtain more detailed information on the topic. CLIM-FO-L is a service provided by the FAO Forest Resources Division, Forest Conservation Service.




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last updated:  Tuesday, November 18, 2008