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How Forests Enhance Resilience to Climate Change

Developing countries are expected to suffer the most from changes in climatic patterns. The effects of climate change, including higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and increased frequency of weather related disasters are bound to create risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies. International and national discussions on forests and climate change have largely been focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+).

Less obvious, yet equally important, is the role of forests in enhancing landscape resilience to climate change—for example at the scale of a watershed. Forests and trees provide environmental services ranging from increasing water quality and quantity in well defined areas, reducing soil erosion, creating micro-climatic conditions that maintain (or in some cases improve) productivity. The sustainable management of forests can also strengthen social resilience, by offering a diversification of revenue sources and product supplies, and building the capacity of local and national institutions.

Forest and tree management could provide a low-cost approach to enhancing resilience of local landscapes to climate change but needs to balance production, livelihood, adaptation and mitigation goals.

PROFOR is conducting a study to improve our understanding of the role of forests in improving the climate resilience of other sectors (mainly agriculture, water, social and biomass based energy sectors). The goal is to inform national adaptation strategies so that they explicitly reflect the value of forest and allocate appropriate resources to facilitate the use of forests for adaptation.

This study will:
• Map forest management approaches and their cross-sectoral impacts
• Identify interactions between forest sector adaptation (or existing management) and resilience enhancement in other sectors (mainly water, biomass-based energy, and agriculture)
• Assess the institutional and financial requirements to identify and implement tree/forest-based adaptation measures
• Identify ways of supporting local knowledge and science that promote tree/forest based adaptation measures with multi-sectoral benefits

The state of knowledge report, synthesis report and case studies are now complete. Briefs for each case study will be available for download soon (the Honduras case study is already available at left in English and Spanish.
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Author : CIFOR, Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, PROFOR
Last Updated : 02-24-2017