If we lose forests, we lose the fight against climate change
This award, developed in association with the Global Canopy Programme, will be given to the best report on the issues connecting climate change and forests, and the key role that protecting forests can play in tackling global warming. If the world is to avert a climate catastrophe by keeping average global temperatures from rising more than two degrees by 2050 we cannot continue with the attitude of 'business as usual'. Deforestation releases approximately six billion tons of CO2 annually, causing almost 20% of all carbon emissions - more than the entire global transport sector.
Over a billion of the world's poorest people already depend on tropical forests for their livelihoods. The ecosystem services generated by these uniquely biodiverse forests - including rainfall generation at a global scale - will become ever more vital in a world adapting to climate change.
For this award, particular attention will be paid to coverage of how greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and degradation can be reduced, but the winning story does not have to about a formal REDD program.
The winning story could, for instance, be about the broader relationship between climate change and forest management, efforts to tackle the drivers of deforestation, the 'forest footprint' of businesses reliant on commodities from deforested land, or a specific forestry-related project.
As with most of the Earth Journalism Awards, stories that account for the views of different stakeholders will be viewed favourably. So, for instance, a story on a REDD project should ideally examine its impact on local communities as well as on climate change.
This award is generally envisaged as being focused on the role of forests in mitigating and adapting to climate change and promoting sustainable development. This could also include the role of tropical peat swamp forests.
The Global Canopy Programme is an alliance of 37 scientific institutions in 19 countries, which lead the world in forest canopy research, education and conservation. Our work programmes all aim to define and explore the range and economic value of forest ecosystem services and to share our findings with decision-makers in Government and finance. Time is not on our side as the conversion of ancient forests proceeds apace worldwide. Policy and positive incentive mechanisms based on sound science must urgently be developed to preserve these vital 'eco-utilities' for humanity.