Pioneering study analyses the effects of combining social equity with biodiversity conservation in slowing down deforestation and climate change

“Pioneering study analyses the effects of combining social equity with biodiversity conservation in slowing down deforestation and climate change”


Ignacio Palomo, BC3 researcher, spearheaded the study, published in the prestigious journal, PNAS, of the US National Academy of Sciences, with the participation of María José Sanz, Scientific Director of the centre, researcher Unai Pascual, and three other French researchers of renowned prestige.

This pioneering study analyses how including equity in the global distribution of funds for the United Nations collaboration programme for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+ programme) affects the programme’s climate objectives of reducing deforestation and conserving biodiversity.

Photo: Yoly Gutierrez_CIFOR


Palomo I., Dujardin Y., Midler E., Robin M., Sanz M.J., Pascual U. Modeling trade-offs across carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and equity in the distribution of global REDD+ funds

Link to publication

Climate change and biodiversity conservation are the two great environmental challenges of our age. One of the greatest social challenges is equity, which, in addition, is one of the basic pillars of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Previous studies have analysed the relations between climate change and biodiversity, showing a positive correlation between both variables. However, to date, analysis has barely been done on how social aspects – in this case, equity – can affect the global distribution of funds for the REDD+ programme, and what consequences this will have on the goals of reducing deforestation and conserving biodiversity.

This interdisciplinary study attempts to assess the impact of an optimised distribution of REDD+ programme funds using several future scenarios integrating deforestation reduction and carbon capture with biodiversity conservation and distributive equity up to the year 2030. Thus, we observe how it is possible to achieve targets that maximise endemic forest species conservation and carbon capture in forests. The inclusion of modest equity criteria into the distribution of funds does not entail great losses in efficiency (in terms of carbon capture and biodiversity conservation) for the programme.  However, the study shows that, when equity becomes one of the main programme objectives, there are considerable reductions in carbon capture and the conservation of biodiversity.

The research done seeks to contribute to high-level discussions on the distribution of REDD+ programme “results-based payments” (which “reward” the reduction of deforestation). The development of tools to feed information into REDD+ programme discussions and forecast the impact of different possible fund distributions is fundamental to transparent and scientifically informed decision-making worldwide.


Information about Ignacio Palomo

Ignacio Palomo (Madrid, 1980), PhD in Ecology and the Environment, is a post-doctoral researcher of the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and associate researcher of the Socio-ecosystems Laboratory of the Autonomous University of Madrid. His research focuses on the relationship between human beings and nature and transition towards sustainability to preserve biodiversity and mitigate climate change. He specialises in socio-ecological systems in mountain areas. Ignacio is the main author of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES), a member of the Global Young Academy and an executive committee member of the Young Academy of Spain. In addition, Ignacio forms part of the commission on protected areas of the United Nations International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He has been a recipient of the Franco-German Make Our Planet Great Again funding programme. He received the extraordinary doctorate award from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He has published over 40 scientific articles in academic journals, as well as several informative books and articles.

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Financiado por el Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación y Universidades y la Agencia Estatal de Investigación,
a través de la Convocatoria: Maria de Maeztu 2017 (BOE 21/10/2017) siendo la referencia de nuestro expediente: MDM-2017-0714

©2008 BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change. Excelencia María de Maeztu.

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