Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC provides for the CDM to channel part of funding to assist with the cost of adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. For tropical countries, deforestation and land use change driven by socio-economic factors are going to be the dominating factors affecting the forest area and vegetation status (Solomon et al., 1996). However, the projected climate change under the 2xCO2 scenario could be at a rate higher than the capacity of the ecosystems and plant species to adapt. The projected climate change will be an additional stress on the forests affecting the vegetation status (Ravindranath et al., 1997). In the event of the projected climate change, increasing forest resilience and adaptation to climate change will be as much or more important than implementation of mitigation programmes for some of the tropical countries. Studies have shown that, in the event of an adverse impact on vegetation due to climate change, the forest dependent communities will be adversely affected through loss or change in forest area and diversity, and through forest dieback. The countries where forest vegetation is likely to be adversely affected by climate change may have to set up institutions to assess the impacts of projected climate change in their region and to develop adaptation strategies. A number of technological and silvicultural adaptation practices have been suggested in the literature (Solomon et al., 1996; Ravindranath et al, 1997). Practices that promote biodiversity conservation or reduce current pressures on forests are also likely to enhance forest resilience under climate stressed situations (Secrett, 1996). There is likely to be a need for intact natural vegetation corridors to assist species migration to enhance habitat resilience on a regional/continental scale. Planning on this scale could be supported by the spread of remote sensing and geographical information system technologies. There are large uncertainties in projecting climate change as well as in the responses of vegetation at the regional level.
Other reports in this collection