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Paul Nicklen

The Kermode bear is known as the spirit bear by the Tsimshian people of the Great Bear Rainforest—a 250-mile coastal temperate rainforest in British Columbia (BC). The forest is largely intact today due to the Great Bear Rainforest Campaign, one of the most successful campaigns ever undertaken to stop clear-cutting and logging.

Forest Protection

Reduce SourcesFood, Agriculture, and Land UseProtect Ecosystems
Support SinksLand SinksProtect and Restore Ecosystems
5.52–8.75
Gigatons
CO2 Equivalent
Reduced / Sequestered
(2020–2050)
In their biomass and soil, forests are powerful carbon storehouses. Protection prevents emissions from deforestation, shields that carbon, and enables ongoing carbon sequestration.

Solution Summary*

The most critical of all forest types is primary forest, known as old-growth or virgin forest. Examples include the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia and those of the Amazon and the Congo. With mature canopy trees and complex understories, these forests contain 300 billion tons of carbon and are the greatest repositories of biodiversity on the planet.

In 2015, there were an estimated three trillion trees in the world. That count is substantially higher than previously thought, but more than 15 billion are cut down each year. Since humans began farming, the number of trees on earth has fallen by 46 percent. Carbon emissions from deforestation and associated land use change are estimated to be 10 to 15 percent of the world’s total.

Strategies to stop deforestation and protect forests include:

  • public policy and the enforcement of existing anti-logging laws;
  • market-driven mechanisms, primarily eco-certification programs that inform consumers and affect purchasing decisions; and
  • programs that enable wealthy nations and corporations to make payments to countries and communities for maintaining their forests.
     

The benefits of forest conservation include biodiversity protection, non-timber products, erosion control, pollination, ecotourism, and other ecosystem services.

* excerpted from the book, Drawdown
Impact:

For each hectare of forest protected, the threat of deforestation and degradation is removed. By protecting as additional 335-466 million hectares of forest, this solution could avoid carbon dioxide emissions totaling 5.5-8.8 gigatons by 2050. Perhaps more importantly, this solution could bring the total protected forest area to almost 0.98-1.1 billion hectares, securing an estimated protected stock of 179-203 gigatons of carbon, roughly equivalent to over 655-743 gigatons of carbon dioxide if released into the atmosphere. Financials are not projected, as they are not incurred at the landholder level.