Published: Oct. 4, 2012

Helping India manage forests,
reduce greenhouse gasses

Contact(s): Layne Cameron Media Communications office: (517) 353-8819 cell: (765) 748-4827 Layne.Cameron@cabs.msu.edu, David Skole Forestry office: (517) 355-1778 skole@msu.edu

Researchers at Michigan State University will use a $1.5 million grant to help India manage its forests and reduce the developing nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The grant, awarded by USAID, is part of an overall $14 million effort to build the nation’s capacity to measure forest carbon and reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Currently, India is faced with the challenge of sustaining its rapid economic growth while dealing with climate change. Climate change may alter the distribution and quality of India's natural resources and adversely affect the livelihood of its people, said David Skole, MSU professor of forestry.

“The project truly enables the transfer of fundamental carbon science research into practical application,” said Skole, an expert on Carbon2Markets projects and global change science. “Our team is working on one of the critical problems facing all countries, but especially those rapidly growing developing countries such as India where the economic welfare of billions of people are linked to agriculture and natural resources.”

The team will develop tools, techniques and methods for better ecosystem management and greenhouse gas reduction; establish carbon inventories and reference baselines; analyze social and economic incentives; and engage stakeholders to pilot and refine research results.

Specifically, Skole and his team will travel to India one to two months a year to help government officials develop online tools for carbon monitoring and measurement. He’ll also help train forestry personnel and local community leaders.

Skole has experience combining sustainable forest management with emerging carbon markets to help small farmers in developing countries grow crops that will boost their standards of living and slow climate change. He has launched similar programs in other African and Asian countries.

As part of the grant, through USAID’s India Forest Partnership for Land Use Science, MSU partnered with India’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Skole’s research is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

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