Disagreement over what constitutes a forest could undermine an agreement to protect forests, which is expected to be one of the bright spots at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen, according to an analysis by the Alternatives to Slash and Burn (ASB) Partnership for Tropical Forest Margins.
While negotiators are struggling to reach consensus in many areas, there is widespread optimism that the conference will produce a framework for paying developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation-- REDD. Deforestation accounts for up to 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
But a new analysis from the ASB Partnership--which is part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)--shows that the Achilles' heel of the REDD plan is a porous definition of forest that will not account for large areas of deforested landscapes.
"Countries can clear massive amounts of forest and still ...