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Facing an uncertain future: how forest and people can adapt to climate change

Locatelli B., Kanninen M., Brockhaus M., Colfer C.J.P., Murdiyarso D., Santoso H.. 2008. Jakarta : CIFOR, 100 p.. (Forest perspectives, 5).

The most prominent international responses to climate change focus on mitigation (reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases) rather than adaptation (reducing the vulnerability of societies and ecosystems). However, with some degree of climate change now recognised as inevitable, adaptation is gaining importance in the policy arena. Moreover, it is one of the four building blocks of the 2-year Bali Action Plan-ongoing negotiations towards an international framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. This report presents the case for adaptation for forests (reducing the impacts of climate change on forests and their ecosystem services) and forests for adaptation (using forests to help local people and society in general to adapt to inevitable changes). Linking adaptation and tropical forests are a new frontier: adaptation is a new arena for tropical foresters, and tropical forests are a new arena for adaptation specialists. Tropical forest management now needs to be adapted in a way that will smooth the transition through climate change. The goal may be to maintain important ecosystems or species-where adaptation measures will aim at resisting the effects of climate change. Alternatively, the goal may be to maintain the ecosystem services provided by the forest-where adaptation measures will aim at helping the forest to 'evolve' so that it does the same job in the new climate. The huge diversity of tropical forests and local situations means that a vast array of adaptation measures is required, from which the most appropriate ones can be selected for each situation. Moreover, because the extent of future climate change is unknown, more than one measure is advisable in each case and implementation must be flexible to the changing situation. Policies in the forest, climate change and other sectors need to address these issues and be integrated with each other-such a cross-sectoral approach is essential if the benefits derived in one area are not to be lost or counteracted in another. To date, tropical forests have been given a minor role in adaptation strategies, even in most of the National Adaptation Programmes of Action. Moreover, the institutions involved in policy development and implementation themselves need to change, to be in a position to enforce the new policies, and to become flexible and able to learn in the context of dynamic human and environmental systems. And all this needs to be done at all levels from the local community to the national government and the international community- again the emphasis is on integration, without which actions at different scales risk cancelling each other out. The report looks at the two aspects in turn-adaptation for tropical forests, and tropical forests for adaptation-and includes an appendix on climate scenarios, concepts, and international policies and funds. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : adaptation aux changements climatiques; changement climatique; forêt tropicale; monde

Thématique : Foresterie - Considérations générales; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Météorologie et climatologie

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