Angelo Sartori, Chief of the Climate Change Unit of the Chilean Government’s National Forestry Service, will present Chile’s National Strategy on Forests and Climate Change, which integrates carbon sequestration with forest management in the country.
Tropical deforestation and forest degradation is a leading cause of climate change, generating approximately 15% of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, and is a threat to global biodiversity and millions of poor people who depend on forests for their livelihoods. The successful verification of the first carbon credits from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Chile, under the rules of the Verified Carbon Standard, is an important milestone for Chile’s National Strategy on Forests and Climate Change, driven by the Agriculture Ministry and the Chilean Government’s National Forestry Service.
These credits have been verified from a project at the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, a protected area that The Nature Conservancy acquired in the south of Chile ten years ago. The Valdivian Coastal Reserve’s old growth forests store the equivalent of more than 800 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare, making these forests among the most carbon-dense in the world. With the actions taken to stop deforestation and conversion of these native forests, more than 350,000 tons of CO2 emissions are estimated to have been prevented from being released into the atmosphere—the equivalent of taking more than 67,000 passenger vehicles off U.S. roads for one full year.
The first Chilean forest carbon project from avoided deforestation and forest degradation to have been validated and verified will be presented in an unofficial side event at the two-week United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change underway in Warsaw, Poland. The Nov. 14 event, called “Valuing the Forest” is being organized by the Conservancy and the Chilean Government’s National Forestry Service (CONAF) to promote both the government’s climate change policy on forests and the achievement in the Valdivian Coastal Reserve.
Keynote speakers at the Warsaw event include the Chief of the Climate Change Unit of the Chilean Government’s National Forestry Service, Angelo Sartori, and the Conservancy’s Chilean Representative, Francisco Solis. "Our country holds important potential for carbon sequestration both from areas that can be forested, exceeding 2 million hectares, and areas which cover about 14 million hectares where forest degradation can be avoided. This is a great opportunity for companies to invest in processes that will offset the carbon footprint of their activities," explains Angelo Sartori.
Based in the 50,000-acre Valdivian Coastal Reserve, the validation of the project design and verification of the first carbon credits from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Chile has complied with rigorous Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) requirements for environmental integrity. The VCS is widely recognized by project developers, investors and policymakers as among the most rigorous standards for forest carbon offset projects globally. Technical support in the development of the carbon project design and monitoring plan was provided by TerraCarbon, LLC. The Nature Conservancy will own all rights to the credits.
“We have come a long way, and this is a big milestone. It is also a great example of how, by protecting forests, we can help to reduce carbon emissions and, at the same time safeguard local communities and the biodiversity of one of the world’s last temperate rainforests. It creates a pathway for others and represents a significant advance in global policies to mitigate climate change”, said Francisco Solis.
The Valdivian Coastal Reserve’s climate change mitigation potential enhances the zone’s significant ecological value. The Valdivian coastal forests harbor some of Chile’s highest concentrations of species found nowhere else on Earth and provide habitat for unique and rare birds and animals. These include millennia-old alerce trees (Fitzroya cupressoides), pudú deer (Pudu puda) and other species of Chilean flora and fauna threatened with extinction. In addition, more than 2.5 million trees will be planted in the largest-ever initiative to restore native forest in Chile, resulting in the recovery of up to 3,500 hectares currently planted with non-native eucalyptus.