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The Global Canopy Programme

The Global Canopy Programme describes itself as “an alliance of 29 scientific institutions in 19 countries, which lead the world in forest canopy research, education and conservation.”

It also states that “The GCP is helping to plug major gaps in knowledge. The structure, function and resilience of the world’s forest canopy environment are unknown. Almost half of all terrestrial life forms could exist in forest canopies, but only a small fraction has been documented. The influence of forest canopies on climate change, their role in maintaining the earth’s biological diversity, and the other vital ecosystem services they provide to humanity at local to global scales is still little understood.”

In 2007 the GCP issued a Report, Forests First in the Fight Against Climate Change, they say that the Report, “highlights the effects of deforestation and its contribution to climate change, and gives an overview of the ecosystem services which tropical forests provide to humanity.  The report details the drivers and implications of deforestation as well as potential solutions to reduce it.”

In the foreword to this Report Andrew Mitchell says, “Tropical rainforests are the elephant in the living room of climate change. Forests must come first in efforts to mitigate global carbon emissions because carbon capture or nuclear technology will take decades to have any significant impact on reducing emissions, whilst we can tackle deforestation now, without the need for inventing new and expensive infrastructure. It is unwise for politicians to arm wrestle over rising aircraft emissions when just the next five years of carbon emissions from burning rainforests (18% of global GHG emissions) will be greater than all the emissions from air travel since the Wright brothers, to at least 2025.”

The Report also states that “18-25% of global GHG emissions are from deforestation. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimates that this represents 7.32 billion tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere each year. Unless mitigated, these carbon emissions, mainly from poor countries, will negate most of the CO2 savings planned under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.”

The GCP Website – – is an important resource for anyone who wishes to understand the importance of forestry conservation in combating climate change, they quote the Stern Report, “The conversion of forest to agricultural land is the single largest source of emissions from changes in land use.”

I strongly recommend this Website, it is an important resource for researchers and students.  I only have one criticism about this Site, there does not seem to have been any work on it since the middle of 2007, and some elements seem unfinished, I hope that the GCP continue to expand and update it, this is too an important resource to leave.


About Andrew Palmer (275 Articles)
Book by Andrew Palmer explores today's fundamental & systemic problems of the world. Proposes a framework for understanding the forces that are driving change.

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