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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Climate change and forests in India: note from the guest editors

  • Author(s): Ravindtranath, N.H.
  • et al.

Forestry is one of the most important sectors in the context of climate change. It lies at the center-stage of global mitigation and adaptation efforts. Yet, it is one of the least understood sectors, especially in tropical zones, which constitute a significant portion of the global forests. Recently, there has been a growing interest in forests in addressing global climate change. The IPCC Assessment Report 4 (2007) Chapters related to forests have highlighted the limited number of studies on the impact of climate change on forests at the regional, national and sub-national level, while policy makers need information at these scales. Further, implication of projected climate change on mitigation potential of forest sector is only briefly mentioned in the IPCC report, with limited literature to support the conclusions. India is one among the top ten nations in the world in terms of forest cover. It is also sixth among the tropical countries in terms of forested area. As IPCC Assessment Report 5 work is about to be initiated soon, studies on the impact of climate change on forests as well as the mitigation potential of the forest sector, particularly at regional and national level, will be of great interest to the scientific and policy community. In order to conserve the carbon stored in forests and to reduce CO2 emissions from the forest sector, the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism is now being finalized under the UNFCCC. In this context, climate change itself may affect the mitigation potential significantly, and it is important to understand how vulnerable the forest carbon stock (biomass and soil) in the tropics is to the projected climate change. In fact, there is a need to study the impact of climate change on forests for all the major forested countries

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