Fund for Climate Solutions awards four new grants

New awards leverage unique data and advance carbon markets

Amazonian river viewed from the air

The Fund for Climate Solutions is a competitive, internal granting mechanism that supports early-stage and high-risk, high-reward research with breakthrough potential. The latest round of awards leverages Woodwell Climate’s long-standing work in tropical forests and river systems around the globe, and advances efforts to develop effective, equitable financial mechanisms to incentivize forest conservation.

Promoting primary forest conservation as a key NCS strategy in the tropics; helping states enter the global carbon market

Project lead: Michael Coe
Collaborators: Glenn Bush, Wayne Walker, and Joseph Zambo

Standing forests, particularly tropical forests, are capable of providing almost a quarter of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed by 2030, yet they receive less than 3% of available finance. A truly functioning carbon market that could correct this imbalance has yet to develop, and a key reason is the lack of a uniform, global rating standard to guide suppliers, reassure investors, and generally ensure carbon credits are what they claim to be. Other FCS-funded work is underway to develop a Forest Carbon Rating Standard (FCRS). This project will build on that, developing model cases of adoption of the standard by state-level jurisdictions in Mato Grosso, Brazil and Equateur and Tshopo provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This work has the potential to accelerate capital flows into programs that can keep primary tropical forests standing.

Making NCS work: Improving adoption of climate smart technologies in the DRC by including subsistence farmers technology preferences in the policy design process

Project lead: Glenn Bush
Collaborators: Kathleen Savage, Joseph Zambo, Samantha Bonelli (Woodwell-Tufts student), and Fitalew Taye (Griffiths University)

Climate smart agricultural techniques have an important role to play in avoiding or reducing greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining or enhancing food production and economic development. Previous FCS-funded research showed that System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a viable climate smart technology for communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the potential to increase yields by up to 30%. However, to design effective policy to incentivize adoption, we must understand the social and economic trade-offs between business as usual and the novel technology. This project aims to develop a social, cultural, and economic assessment method to understand SRI’s potential for adoption by subsistence farmers in the DRC. While the method will be developed and tested in DRC, it will be broadly applicable, with the potential to inform the design of policies to promote natural climate solutions.

Intensification in the world’s largest agricultural frontier: The impacts of land use transition on local climate and crop yields

Project lead: Ludmila Rattis

The Brazilian Cerrado, the world’s most biodiverse savanna, is key to regulating water availability and atmospheric moisture over South America. It is also where Brazilian agriculture is expanding the most. As a result, more than half the region has been deforested and deforestation continues at a rapid pace, with potential impacts on local temperatures and water availability. The relationship betweenf deforestation and local climate has been well-studied in the Amazon region, but not in the Cerrado. The goal of this project is to model land use transition impacts on local climate and consequently, on crop yields in the Cerrado agricultural frontier. The results will provide new scientific insights into prospects for future food production in the Cerrado and have the potential to greatly strengthen our policy approaches to ending deforestation.

Integrating long-term global rivers data to enhance understanding, identify new research directions, and improve watershed management in a changing climate

Project lead: Marcia Macedo
Collaborators: Michael Coe, Linda Deegan, Anna Liljedahl, Christopher Neill, and Jonathan Sanderman

Climate change is altering river flows, temperatures, and chemistry globally, with impacts on ecosystems and human communities. But the changes vary widely, and there are few comprehensive, global datasets from which to extract a broader perspective. Woodwell’s Water Program is uniquely positioned to address this challenge. Decades of work by Woodwell researchers and their partners at hundreds of sites around the world has resulted in an incredible array of data—global yet detailed, diverse yet comparable. By funding the first Woodwell Climate Postdoctoral Fellowship to analyze this data in an integrated framework, this project aims to expand the diversity of perspectives on Woodwell’s science staff, consolidate our understanding of the threats facing global rivers, and identify cross-cutting research priorities moving forward.

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