Savanna fire management can generate enough carbon revenue to help restore Africa's rangelands and fill protected area funding gaps

Timothy H. Tear, Nicholas H. Wolff, Geoffrey J. Lipsett-Moore, Mark E. Ritchie, Natasha S. Ribeiro, Lisanne S. Petracca, Peter A. Lindsey, Luke Hunter, Andrew J. Loveridge, Franziska Steinbruch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many savanna-dependent species in Africa including large herbivores and apex predators are at increasing risk of extinction. Achieving effective management of protected areas (PAs) in Africa where lions live will cost an estimated US$ >1–2 billion/year in new funding. We explore the potential for fire-management-based carbon financing programs to fill this funding gap and benefit degrading savanna ecosystems. We demonstrate how introducing early dry season fire management programs could produce potential carbon revenues (PCRs) from either a single carbon financing method (avoided emissions) or from multiple sequestration methods ranging from US$ 59.6–655.9 million/year (at US$ 5/ton) or US$ 155.0 million/year to US$ 1.7 billion/year (at US$ 13/ton). We highlight variable but significant PCRs for savanna PAs from US$ 1.5–44.4 million/year per PA. We suggest investing in fire management programs to jump-start the United Nations Decade of Ecological Restoration to help restore degraded African savannas and conserve imperiled keystone herbivores and apex predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1776-1791
Number of pages16
JournalOne Earth
Volume4
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 17 2021

Keywords

  • carbon emissions
  • conservation-development projects
  • ecological function
  • ecosystem resilience
  • ecosystem services
  • herbivores
  • lions
  • natural climate solutions
  • soil carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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