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Climate change is a shift in our planet’s weather and climate systems that brings about increasing average temperatures and more erratic weather events, rising seas, changes inhabitats and wildlife, and a myriad of other impacts. Understanding the implications and likelihood of climate change impacts on natural and human systems in the Asia-Pacific region is important for developing strategies to safeguard the region against environmental, social and economic perturbations.

  • Large-scale reforestation can increase water yield and reduce drought risk for water-insecure regions in the Asia-Pacific

    Hoong Chen Teo, Srivatsan V. Raghavan, Xiaogang He, Zhenzhong Zeng, Yanyan Cheng, Xiangzhong Luo, Alex M. Lechner, Matthew J. Ashfold, Aakash Lamba, Rachakonda Sreekar, Qiming Zheng, Anping Chen, Lian Pin Koh
    Global Change Biology

    Large-scale reforestation can potentially bring both benefits and risks to the water cycle, which needs to be better quantified under future climates to inform reforestation decisions. Reforestation also reduces the probability of extremely dry months in most of the water-insecure regions. However, some regions experience nonsignificant declines in net water yield due to heightened evapotranspiration outstripping increases in precipitation, or declines in soil moisture and advected precipitation.

    Published November 2022
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  • Gains in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services from the expansion of the planet’s protected areas

    Yiwen Zeng, Lian Pin Koh, David S. Wilcove
    Science Advances

    Protected areas safeguard biodiversity, ensure ecosystem functioning, and deliver ecosystem services to communities. However, only ~16% of the world’s land area is under some form of protection, prompting international calls to protect at least 30% by 2030. This paper models the outcomes of achieving this 30 × 30 target for terrestrial biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and nutrient regulation.

    Published June 2022
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  • Tropical and subtropical Asia's valued tree species under threat

    Hannes Gaisberger, Tobias Fremout, Lian Pin Koh, et al.
    Conservation Biology

    Tree diversity in Asia's tropical and subtropical forests is central to nature-based solutions. Species vulnerability to multiple threats, which affect provision of ecosystem services, is poorly understood. This paper conducted a region-wide, spatially explicit assessment of the vulnerability of 63 socioeconomically important tree species to overexploitation, fire, overgrazing, habitat conversion, and climate change.

    Published June 2022
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  • Co-benefits of forest carbon projects in Southeast Asia

    Tasya Vadya Sarira, Yiwen Zeng, Rachel Neugarten, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Lian Pin Koh
    Nature Sustainability

    Forest carbon projects can deliver multiple benefits to society. Within Southeast Asia, 58% of forests threatened by loss could be protected as financially viable carbon projects, which would avoid 835 MtCO2e of emissions per year from deforestation, support dietary needs for an equivalent of 323,739 people annually from pollinator-dependent agriculture, retain 78% of the volume of nitrogen pollutants in watersheds yearly and safeguard 25 Mha of Key Biodiversity Areas.

    Published February 2022
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  • Blue carbon as a natural climate solution

    Peter I. Macreadie, Micheli D. P. Costa, Trisha B. Atwood, Daniel A. Friess, Jeffrey J. Kelleway, Hilary Kennedy, Catherine E. Lovelock, Oscar Serrano, Carlos M. Duarte
    Nature Reviews Earth Environment

    Blue carbon ecosystems (BCEs) store carbon and provide co-benefits such as coastal protection and fisheries enhancement. Blue carbon sequestration has therefore been suggested as a natural climate solution. This review examines the potential for BCEs to act as carbon sinks and the opportunities to protect or restore ecosystems for this function.

    Published November 2021
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  • Global potential and limits of mangrove blue carbon for climate change mitigation

    Yiwen Zeng, Daniel A.Friess, Tasya Vadya Sarira, Kelly Siman, Lian Pin Koh
    Current Biology

    Despite the outsized role of mangrove forests in sustaining biodiversity, ecosystem function, and local livelihoods, the protection of these vital habitats through blue carbon financing has been limited. This paper quantifies the extent of this missed conservation and financial opportunity, showing that the protection of ∼20% of the world’s mangrove forests (2.6 Mha) can be funded through carbon financing.

    Published April 2021
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  • Carbon prospecting in tropical forests for climate change mitigation

    Lian Pin Koh, Yiwen Zeng, Tasya Vadya Sarira, Kelly Siman
    Nature Communications

    Carbon finance projects that protect tropical forests could support both nature conservation and climate change mitigation goals. Global demand for nature-based carbon credits is outpacing their supply, due partly to gaps in knowledge needed to inform and prioritize investment decisions. This paper shows that at current carbon market prices the protection of tropical forests can generate investible carbon amounting to 1.8 (±1.1) GtCO2e yr−1 globally, and financially viable carbon projects could generate return-on-investment amounting to $46.0b y−1 in net present value. However, ~80% (1.24 billion ha) of forest carbon sites would be financially unviable for failing to break even over the project lifetime. From a conservation perspective, unless carbon prices increase in the future, it is imperative to implement other conservation interventions, in addition to carbon finance, to safeguard carbon stocks and biodiversity in vulnerable forests.

    Published February 2021
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  • Global urban reforestation can be an important natural climate solution

    Hoong Chen Teo, Yiwen Zeng, Tasya Vadya Sarira, Tze Kwan Fung, Qiming Zheng, Xiao Ping Song, Kwek Yan Chong, Lian Pin Koh
    Environmental Research Letters

    The climate mitigation potential of urban nature-based solutions (NBSs) is often perceived as insignificant and thus overlooked, as cities primarily pursue NBSs for local ecosystem services. This paper modelled the global potential and limits of urban reforestation worldwide, and find that 10.9 ± 2.8 Mha of land (17.6% of all city areas) are suitable for reforestation, which would offset 82.4 ± 25.7 MtCO2e yr−1 of carbon emissions.

    Published February 2021
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