What Is A Forest?

At first glance, this question seems absurd. It’s obvious to any English-speaking person that a forest is… well, a forest. A dense collection of trees. But given this definition, is a forest still a forest if every tree was the same species? If no other type of vegetation was found under the canopy? If the trees were…

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Forests Win Big in Bonn

A Global Effort is (Finally) Agreed Upon As outlined in my previous post, A Song of Forest and Carbon, forests are necessary to combat climate change. Like the UNFCCC agreements, an international agreement on how to reduce deforestation has been in discussion for years. The output of this agreement is called the Reduction of Emissions…

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$200 and 9 bureaucratic hours later… I made it to Bonn, Germany! I’m finally able to attend the 42nd Session of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB42) of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), discussing the negotiating text and detailing plans for countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). If you’re thinking to yourself that…

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A Song of Forest and Carbon

The second biggest emitting sector in the world is land use. But what is “Land Use”, anyway? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change defines land use as the total of arrangements, activities, and inputs that people undertake in a certain land cover type, including land under forests, silviculture, shifting cultivation, agroforestry, temporary fallow… What’s that?…

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Rachet, Hatchet, Pivot

A brief history of the UNFCCC In some ways, the human experience is dialectic: we encounter a problem, we formulate a solution, which, in turn, either becomes or illuminates a new problem. In her new book, Ruth DeFries terms these cyclical stages the Ratchet, Hatchet, and Pivot. For instance, as the human population grows and demand for…

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On INDCs and the Land Sector

Friends, I’m heading to Bonn in hopes of promoting international focus on the land sector – also known as “agriculture, forestry and other land use” (AFOLU). For the most part, the land sector involves the conversion of  “natural” or un-managed land (like forests) to an area used for food and/or material production (like a farm).…

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