Using global scale maps and statistics, we estimate that the conversion of all vulnerable tropical forests to the most valuable other land use at each location could lead to emissions of 670 Gt carbon dioxide (CO2).
We then evaluate the role of the global protected area network in preventing emissions from tropical deforestation. If all tropical protected areas were successful in meeting their objectives of preventing land use change, we estimate that they would contribute a 28% reduction in the total potential emissions from the conversion of vulnerable tropical forest. Recent research indicates that whilst protected areas are successful in reducing deforestation, they do not prevent it entirely (Clark et al. 2008). Strengthening the global protected area network could therefore make an effective contribution to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
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