Environmental and Indigenous Organizations and Leading Scientists Support California Tropical Forest Standard

September 18, 2019

(Photo: Peter Oxford)

Widespread Support in Advance of California Air Resources Board Vote on September 19

Arlington, Va. (September 18, 2019) – Conservation International and a growing number of environmental organizations, indigenous groups and scientists are calling on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt the Tropical Forest Standard. The board is set to vote on September 19.

Dozens of environmental and indigenous organizations and 118 scientists from around the world stand in support of the California Tropical Forest Standard, which early analysis tells us could generate over $1 billion from private investment towards reducing tropical deforestation in the next 10 years. This includes lead authors of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report; members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; fellows from the California Academy of Sciences; and directors from the Center for International Forestry Research.

“Environmentalists, scientists and indigenous peoples from around the world are rallying around the California Tropical Forest Standard. We know that a third of the greenhouse gases released have come from clearing forests and that in order to combat climate change, we must keep tropical forests standing. California has historically been an environmental trailblazer and we’re confident that they will step up decisively to take bold global action on the most important issue of our time,” said Joanna Durbin, Director of the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance at Conservation International and who led the development of the social and environmental safeguards included in the standard.

“The Tropical Forest Standard offers California its best chance to combat fires and deforestation in the Amazon by recognizing and rewarding the forest protection achievements of Brazilian states,” said Dr. Daniel Nepstad, President and Founder of Earth Innovation Institute.

Organizations supporting the California Tropical Forest Standard include:

  • Association of the Indigenous Agroforestry Leaders of Acre, Brazil
  • Conservation International
  • Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA)
  • Earth Innovation Institute
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Forest Trends
  • General Congress of the Embera and Wounaan Collective Lands, Panama
  • Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB)
  • National Council of Extractive Populations, Brazil
  • The Association of Forest Communities of Peten Guatemala - ACOFOP
  • The Emmet Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • United National Development Program
  • Yawanawa Sociocultural Association, Brazil
  • Yurok Tribe, largest federally recognized tribe in California

Scientists supporting the California Tropical Forest Standard include:

  • Dr. Paulo Brando, Tropical/global ecologist and forest fire expert, Assistant Professor, University of California, Irvine
  • Dr. Jeff Chambers, Forest Ecosystem Ecologist, Professor of Geography, University of California, Berkeley
  • Dr. Robin Chazdon, Professor Emerita, Ecologist, University of Connecticut
  • Dr. Chris Field,  Director,  Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment,  Stanford University
  • (Member,  National Academy of Sciences,  USA; IPCC Co-Chair and Lead Author)
  • Dr. Gretchen C. Daily,  Bing Professor of Environmental Science,  Dept. of Biology and Woods Institute,  Stanford University (Member,  National Academy of Sciences,  USA; Fellow, California Academy of Sciences)
  • Dr. Ruth Defries, Sustainability Science, Columbia University (Member, National Academy of Sciences, USA; Fellow, California Academy of Sciences; Lead Author, IPCC AR4; MacArthur Award recipient)
  • Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director, Project Drawdown (Fellow, California Academy of Sciences)
  • Dr. Lee Hannah,  Senior Research Fellow,  Climate Change Biology,  Conservation International,  Adjunct Faculty,  Bren School of Environmental Science and Management,  University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Dr. Tom Hertel, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, Distinguished Fellow AAAS and AAEA, Past President AAEA
  • Dr. John Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Member, National Academy of Sciences; Fellow, California Academy of Sciences)
  • Dr. Eric Lambin, Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Academia Europaea,  European Academy of Sciences,  Académie Royale des sciences,  des lettres & des beaux-arts de Belgique, 2014 Laureate Volvo Environment Prize, 2019 Laureate Blue Planet Prize
  • Dr. Thomas Lovejoy,  Ecologist, Amazon specialist, United Nations Foundation

For a full list of the scientists who have endorsed the California Tropical Forest Standard, click here.

The California Tropical Forest Standard incentivizes tropical states in countries like Mexico and Brazil to keep their forests standing by increasing financing directed toward forest preservation through a number of different means. The standard, which includes robust environmental and social safeguards developed through a participatory process led by Conservation International, was also designed to protect and involve indigenous peoples and local communities.

With tropical deforestation representing about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, keeping forests standing is a powerful way to tackle the climate crisis. Scientists and environmentalists agree that in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must conserve forests now.

About Conservation International

Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking  "Nature Is Speaking" campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “Drop in the Ocean”"My Africa,"  “Under the Canopy" and "Valen's Reef." Follow Conservation International's work on our Human Nature blog, FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.