|Country||Tanzania, United Republic of|
|Date||26 Oct 2006|
The tangible output for the study will be a site-specific model for carbon accumulation in three Tanzanian forest types. The model will be useful to communities, government and the private sector to determine the amount of carbon sequestered at each stage of regeneration, an important figure to establish for those interested in the carbon trade. Because I will be investigating several soil and vegetation parameters, I will be able to use my results to gain insights into those parameters that are most conducive to high accumulation of carbon. From these results, it will also be possible to determine the cultivation strategies most suitable for fast and healthy return of forest. Consequently, I hope to be able to identify local agricultural practices that result in the ‘best’ forest, and to encourage widespread use of such practices.
The overall objective of the project, however, is forest conservation. South Nguru Forest Reserve, like most forest in Tanzania and in other developing nations, is under constant threat from local communities to provide timber, wood, farmland and grazing land. The carbon emissions trade, advocated for by the Kyoto Protocol, is a one-time opportunity for communities to reap direct benefits from forests without extracting the trees. In fact, because growing trees sequester the most carbon from the air, regenerating forests are the best strategy for any community. Communities could allocate portions of their deforested land to regeneration and gain all the carbon credits associated with the forest and the additional ecosystem services provided by forests. By sampling woody vegetation growing on plots containing different aged regenerating forests growing on land that was previously cultivated at different intensities, it will be possible to compare the value of the carbon sequestered to the value of alternative land uses. Placing a monetary value on a forest based on its ability to sequester carbon is a new and overwhelming prospect, but the potential it has to promote appreciation of forests at local level, to improve the welfare of surrounding communities, and to curb global warming is deserving of attention.
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