One Park, Many Worlds


Carbon Stocks And Climate Change

Climate change will lead to adverse affects world wide, therefore reducing the risk of climate change to biodiversity and human livelihoods is a global priority. This is especially true in the developing world where human livelihoods are directly and inextricably linked to the natural resources and environmental services provided by vulnerable ecosystems. Furthermore, in poor countries such as Ethiopia, where 80% of the population and an exceptional number of rare and endemic species live in highland areas that are most susceptible to the initial effects of global warming, climate change will become a major obstacle to both conservation and poverty reduction. In Ethiopia, aforestation schemes are becoming a national priority whilst national and international support for protecting existing forests are minimal, despite the higher immediate and future carbon storage potential of mature forests and the dependence of local people on natural resources for their livelihoods. Furthermore, the added benefits of protecting intact ecosystems include the conservation of biodiversity, natural resources and ecosystem services, which would ultimately reduce food insecurity and food aid dependence of poor people that are most susceptible to future climate change impacts. Therefore, research that assesses (i) the carbon stocks of intact ecosystems and (ii) land cover/land use changes affecting forests and watersheds are urgently required to prioritise environmental management and conservation within global climate change policies.

This research will assess carbon stocks in the BMNP and evaluate the impact of land cover/land use changes on carbon stocks. An analysis of the carbon stock potential of the BMNP ecosystem will provide a basis for investigating whether BMNP can tap into carbon compensation schemes from the international community to fund management and conservation activities. A scoping study will be undertaken to investigate the potential role of international carbon markets in providing financial incentives and funding mechanisms for long-term forest and watershed conservation in BMNP. The aim is to strengthen BMNP human and financial capacity by identifying financial incentives for protected area management and sustainable natural resource use by local communities.

This research is also the foundation for a more comprehensive project that will establish BMNP as a long-term climate change reference site, increase local awareness of climate change, build Ethiopian capacity for climate change research and monitoring, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the exceptional biological and socio-economic value of the BMNP. In doing so, it will provide a case study for conserving other vulnerable ecosystems nationally and internationally as part of a global climate change mitigation strategy. Furthermore, the BMNP’s global importance and status as one of the world’s ecosystems most at risk from global warming will contribute to elevating climate change to a socio-economic, conservation, and political priority among local, regional, and international stakeholders.

This research has been undertaken by Frankfurt Zoological Society in collaboration with Charlene Watson (University College of London) and Eyob Teshome (FZS) with funding from the British High Commission Bilateral Fund.

Bale Mountains National Park