This publication was a direct response to a request by the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to explore the links between biodiversity, forest ecosystem resilience, and climate change. Its findings are relevant not just for the future implementation of the CBD, but also of the UNFCCC, the Forest Instrument of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), and other international and regional forest-related agreements. It provides a compelling rationale for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in all forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
In the present debate on climate change, the carbon storage capacity of forests and their role in mitigation is receiving increasing attention. While the international climate change negotiations have now recognized the value of ecosystem-based adaptation, in reality ecosystem-based mitigation and adaptation are two sides of the same coin. Protecting primary forests and restoring managed or degraded forest ecosystems make a vital contribution to both reducing anthropogenic emissions and aiding societal adaptation to unavoidable climate change. It is the resilience inherent to intact forest ecosystems that provides the best insurance against climate change and prospects for ensuring forests meet the needs of present and future generations.