The worldwide effort to rally progress in the fight against climate change is reaching new heights.
Today, as the Prince’s Rainforest Project issues an SOS for tropical forests and troops of scientists and climate experts gather in Bangkok to finalize many of the agreements expected from Copenhagen, Conservation International (CI) has teamed up with Google to create a soaring "tour" of Madagascar that will showcase the country’s stunning geography while also illustrating the importance of proper funding for forest carbon projects within the country and around the world.
Financing Madagascar’s Forests
Taken as a whole, the island of Madagascar can be viewed as a pilot project for testing the potential economic and environmental benefits of carbon markets worldwide. CI is demonstrating how economic incentives for keeping forests standing – through forest carbon market initiatives like Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and reforestation projects – are being used in the country to stimulate equitable economic growth.
These projects create a model for how thoughtful management of ecosystems can provide for healthy people, healthy landscapes and healthy economies, while supporting global efforts to slow and adapt to climate change.
DOWNLOAD: Get Google Earth and take the tour.
The Google tour will highlight six sites around Madagascar:
- The Andasibe-Mantadia corridor – where world famous indri lemurs (Indri indri) live side-by-side with local communities that deliver carbon-emissions reductions through reducing deforestation and re-planting native forest, including sustainable agriculture efforts.
- The Montagne des Francais, source of essential freshwater supplies and forests which are increasingly threatened by charcoal harvesting. Forest carbon income through REDD programs would replace the need for harvesting charcoal and keep forests intact.
- The Makira climate project, supported by CI in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Society, proves that there is significant international interest and investment in forest carbon markets.
- The forests around Lake Kinkony, where efforts by local fishermen to sustainably manage their fish stocks will be in vain if national policy does not maintain the forested watersheds that filter and deliver fresh water. REDD programs can provide national-level incentives for these conservation efforts. Kinkony is also an important wetland site for many species of birds.
- Tsitongambarika Forest provides vital freshwater and other services for the city of Fort Dauphin and the local mining operation. Payments for forest protection provided by carbon markets and REDD initiatives provide economic incentives for maintaining the forests rather than cutting them down.
- Ranomafana National Park, where CI is using cutting-edge science to assess local dependency on the forest and measure thousands of trees a year to calculate the park’s carbon capture and storage.
Madagascar is showcasing solutions – through both on-the-ground practice and international policy – that make nature the driver of a more stable climate and economy for all. The successes of CI’s Madagascar projects are proving this important connection: country-wide, deforestation in Madagascar has decreased by 36 percent in the last ten years.
IN DEPTH: Learn more about CI's forest carbon projects.
Ongoing climate negotiations like the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen must recognize that Madagascar provides a model for how conservation and development can be successfully interlinked, and that carbon initiatives like these not only combat climate change, but also help species and communities adapt to its impacts while orienting economic growth toward a new, sustainable economic path.
By visiting CI’s Google Earth Tour, you can lend your voice to the effort to slowing climate change. Help us convince the world’s leaders that any agreement coming out of Copenhagen must include protections for forests, and must include funding for those protections.
Coming together through tools like this, we can all respond to climate change while securing a thriving future for nature and all humankind.
READ MORE: Montagne des Français: a burning Issue for Conservation in Madagascar