Report: Protected Areas – Natural Solutions to Climate Change Crisis (World Commission on Protected Areas)

“Nature can offer solutions that are available to the rural poor in particular that are cost-effective and sustainable.”

- Ninni Ikkala, IUCN’s Climate Change Coordinator

“Managing and conserving nature can increase resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people to the impacts of climate change … Governments should promote the inclusion of ecosystem-based adaptation in the Copenhagen agreement.”

- Neville Ash, IUCN’s Head of Ecosystem Management Programme

IUCN (World Commission on Protected Areas) – Protected areas play a major role in reducing climate changing carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. Fifteen percent of the world’s terrestrial carbon stock – 312 Gigatonnes – are stored in protected areas around the world. In Canada, over 4 billion tons of carbon dioxide is sequestered in 39 national parks, estimated to be worth $39-87 billion in carbon credits. In the Brazilian Amazon, protected lands are expected to prevent 670,000 km² of deforestation by 2050, representing 8 billion tons of avoided carbon emissions. Protected areas also serve as natural buffers against climate impacts and other disasters, providing space for floodwaters to disperse, stabilizing soil against landslides and blocking storm surges. It has been estimated that coastal wetlands in the United States provide $23.2 billion a year in protection against flooding from hurricanes. And protected areas can keep natural resources healthy and productive so they can withstand the impacts of climate change and continue to provide the food, clean water, shelter and income communities rely upon for survival. Thirty three of the world’s 100 largest cities derive their drinking water from catchments within forest protected areas.

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Download report: “Natural Solutions: Protected Areas Helping People Cope with Climate Change” (PDF).

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