Half the Solution

Devoted to promoting the significant potential of tropical forest conservation and restoration as part of the solution to global warming - specifically, that tropical forest conservation and restoration could provide up to 50% of the global warming solution over the next 50 crucial years, as described in this peer-reviewed article:
R.A. Houghton, Brett Byers and Alexander A. Nassikas, "A role for tropical forest in stabilizing atmospheric CO2," Nature Climate Change 5, 1022-1023 (2015), doi: 10.1038/nclimate2869 (published online November 25, 2015).
Excel spreadsheet workbook containing the calculations underlying the article: download
Authors affiliations:     
   R.A. Houghton and Alexander A. Nassikas: Woods Hole Research Center
   Brett Byers: Rainforest Trust and Million Acre Pledge


"This new paper indicating that tropical forest conservation could represent as much as 50 percent of the solution to climate change is truly ground-breaking – and potentially game-changing – as it comes just one week before what hopefully will be an historic Climate Convention meeting in Paris.  Taken together with the many other ecosystem services provided by these forests and the enormous wealth of biodiversity living within them, this paper strongly suggests we need a greater focus on protecting our remaining tropical forests than ever before."
    - Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier, Executive Vice Chair, Conservation International


"Tropical forest conservation could provide as much as half of the net carbon dioxide emissions reductions from current levels over the next 50 years, and, thus, will be key to the fight against global warming.  Realizing this potential is going to take dramatically increased efforts in the government, charitable and corporate sectors.  We’ve protected more than 500 million hectares of tropical forest so far, but the protection of the more than 1 billion remaining hectares is urgent."
          - Brett Byers, board member, Rainforest Trust, and founding pledger, Million Acre Pledge

Press releases regarding, and media, editorial and blog coverage of, the article.

Other reports, papers and articles have indicated that tropical forest conservation and restoration could offset about 30% of CO2 emissions.  However, the foregoing article shows that tropical forest conservation and restoration could be up to one-half of the global warming, comparing its potential to that of fossil fuel use reduction and eventual elimination with the benefit of tropical forest conservation over the next crucial 50 years.  Two factors allow this to be so.  First, conservation can be implemented faster than the decades to convert to alternatives to fossil fuel use, as such conversion is subject to industrial capacity limits.  Second, the recovery of vast areas of degraded forest (such as selectively logged forest), would absorb huge amounts of CO2 for decades were continuing degradation (often logging) halted.

Highly cost-effective tropical forest conservation projects offered by Rainforest Trust:
Proposed Creation of Balanga Forest Reserve, Democratic Republic of the Congo, $0.77 per acre
Proposed Expansion of Conservation Area, Papua New Guinea, $1.25 per acre
Proposed Expansion of Douala-Edea Wildlife Reserve, Cameroon, $1.27 per acre
Proposed Dinagat Island Reserves, Philippines, $8.59 per acre
Proposed Bugun Conservation Area, Northeast India, $16.63 per acre
Other Rainforest Trust Projects
Comparison of Urgent Rainforest Trust Projects

Recognition of Rainforest Trust partner CEDIA in Peru for large recent project (7 on the list).


Individuals, family foundations and businesses interested in financing efforts to conserve large areas of forest may take the Million Acre Pledge.

Please email brettbyers@halfthesolution.com with any questions or comments.