The climate relevance of ecosystems beyond forests and peatlands - A review of current knowledge and recommendations for action

This report was prepared as a background document and basis for discussion for the workshop "The climate relevance of ecosystems beyond forests and peatlands", which took place from 26-29 October 2011 at the International Academy for Nature Conservation on the Isle of Vilm, Germany. It was subsequently updated in collaboration with the participants to include additional information and ideas developed during and after the meeting. The workshop conclusions and recommendations are included as an annex to the document.

The report shows that many efforts to promote ecosystem-based approaches to climate change mitigation have so far focused on forests, agricultural ecosystems and – to a lesser degree – peatlands. However, there is a wide range of other options for ecosystem-based mitigation, and opportunities in non-forested dryland systems and coastal marine ecosystems deserve more attention.

By broadening the scope of ecosystem-based mitigation approaches, the available land area for mitigation activities, the number of stakeholders who can be involved and the overall mitigation potential can be increased significantly. Paying attention to all types of ecosystems within an area can also reduce the risk of unintended effects from mitigation strategies that are exclusively focused on forest carbon stocks.