Climate Change: Where We Work

Confronting the Problem, Locally and Globally

The Nature Conservancy helped develop the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) standards to ensure that forest projects designed to mitigate climate change also increase regional biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods. CCB requires projects to meet 15 key criteria in these areas to ensure they provide these three benefits.

The CCB process evaluates projects in the planning or early stage and a third-party evaluator determines whether the project meets its required objectives, which also include standards for permanence and leakage.

A joint project between the Conservancy and Conservation International in Tengchong, China recently became the first project to be certified under the comprehensive CCB standards. And the project represents a significant step forward for the Chinese government in the area of climate-change mitigation.

Although China did not sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, it has made a significant commitment through forest projects to combating climate change, flooding and soil erosion. But many of these projects have unfortunately relied on vast stands of monoculture forests that were a detriment to the country’s biodiversity.

A Project for the Climate and People

The Tengchong project is a small-scale reforestation project located in China's Yunnan province just south of the Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve, regarded as a key area for global biodiversity conservation.

The Conservancy and CI will reforest close to 1,200 acres of degraded land in Tengchong with native tree species. Over 30 years, these trees will remove nearly 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

In addition, the project will: 

  • Train local farmers in sustainable silviculture practices and educate them on the carbon market.
  • Employ members of the local community in the site preparation, planting, and fire and pest prevention phases of the project. 
  • Direct 10 percent of the money generated from carbon credits back to the local community.
  • Encourage local communities to sustainably harvest all non-timber products and timber products from their land. Project organizers estimate that this will save each family between $64 and $78 per year. 

The CCB standards are considered to be among the world’s best criteria for measuring climate change mitigation. In fact, some of the world’s most highly regarded project consultancies and investors, including and the World Bank and EcoSecurities, are applying the standards to their climate change projects.

The standards have also been strongly recommended by several groups promoting socially responsible business solutions, including Carbon Trust and Business for Social Responsibility.

In addition, a recent EcoSecurities survey of major carbon funds and private-sector buyers of carbon credits found that more than half of all survey respondents said they would prefer CCB-certified projects, and 40 percent of those said they would be willing to pay a premium for credits coming from such projects.

Through the Tengchong project and the CCB standards, the Conservancy has demonstrated that climate action forest projects can do much more than help slow climate change -- biodiversity and local livlihoods also benefit greatly. Climate change is already affecting our lives and the world’s ecosystems. And that makes these type of  forestry projects all the more important.