ecosystems offer this opportunity — forests, wetlands and grasslands.
And three strategies will allow us to truly unlock the carbon-storing
potential of these systems: improving land management on our already
converted lands; avoiding future conversion of critical lands; and
restoring landscapes on a global scale.
If we get this right, nature can mitigate at least 20 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
Global Landscapes Forum takes place in Paris this weekend. Some 3,000
people are uniting around this agenda: indigenous peoples, financiers,
policymakers, large corporations, smallholders and a broad range of civil
society. My organization — The Nature Conservancy — is participating in
many activities: working alongside governments including the US, China,
Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia; partnering with indigenous peoples from
Australia to Africa; hosting discussions with civil society partners,
financiers and corporations; and showcasing the latest tools and
technologies that are being deployed on the ground.
All of us
are working with the reality that development pressures continue apace.
We have already converted half of our world’s ice-free lands — for
agriculture and forestry — and a new study by my colleagues shows that
20 percent of the world’s remaining natural lands are at risk of
development by 2050 — an area more than twice the size of the United
States. In Africa alone, the amount of natural land that will be
converted to ‘working’ land is set to triple. Furthermore, there is an
estimated $70 trillion of infrastructure investment coming down the
pipeline by 2050.