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Natural rubber contributions to mitigation of climate change

Kadir A.B.S.A., Gitz V., Gohet E., Jacob J., Nair L., Pinizzotto S., Nguyen Anh Nghia, Blagodatsky S., Brady M., Cerutti P.O., Chen B., Duchelle A.E., Fairuzah Z., Febbiyanti T.R., Gay F., Jessy M.D., Martius C., Matsui M., Meybeck A., Nouvellon Y., Omokhafe K.O., Othman R., Penot E., Rodrigo L., Rubaizah F., Sainte Beuve J., Singh A., Tajuddin I., Thaler P., Wijaya T., Wjiesuriya W.. 2022. Séoul : KFS, 10 p. World Forestry Congress. 15, 2022-05-02/2022-05-06, Séoul (Corée, république de).

The potential of natural rubber to contribute to climate change mitigation is often overlooked. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize available research, mainly from the results of a recent workshop organised by IRSG in collaboration with CIFOR/FTA, IRRDB and CIRAD. Studies have been conducted on the potential contribution of rubber plantations to climate change mitigation in diverse situations, generally focusing on carbon stocked in tree biomass above and below ground. 2 They show that rubber plantations constitute carbon stocks that can be compared to some agroforestry or forestry systems. However, the global GHG emissions balance needs to take into account the effects of conversion to rubber plantation, which is strictly dependent on the previous land use. Conversion of forests or swidden agriculture can lead to substantial carbon emissions especially if swidden agriculture displaced by rubber in turn translates to an area where it converts natural forest. Such studies show the importance of promoting the renewal of existing plantations and to increase productivity, in rubber and associated crops, to reduce the need for additional land. Rubber plantations can also be an effective mitigation measure on degraded lands. There is a considerable potential in use of rubber wood, largely untapped, that would reduce the need for additional wood collection in forests and for timber plantations. Finally, natural rubber and rubber wood can substitute other products highly dependent of fossil energies and are themselves carbon sinks.

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