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Argentina’s enhanced commitment to Forests and Climate Change


Argentina FAO 1

The Argentine Republic has a native forest cover of 53.6 million hectares (ha), distributed in seven regions that range from temperate forests to subtropical forests. The loss of coverage of native forests has had a great impact on the country's forestry sector. However, deforestation continues to be relevant, despite its slowdown in recent years. Between 2006 and 2008, the annual rate of deforestation decreased from more than 360 000 hectares per year to less than 200 000 hectares per year as of 2015. The main drivers of deforestation are linked to the growth of the agricultural frontier, urbanization, of forest fires, the progress of infrastructure within the forest and mining projects. The remaining forests suffer degradation processes due to grazing or overgrazing by cattle within the forest, agricultural processes, the extraction of timber and non-timber forest products in an unsustainable way, and the invasion of non-native species.

map Argentina

Since Argentina’s ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2016, the country has strengthened its position of leadership, proactivity and commitment to fight against climate change. At the national level, the National Cabinet on Climate Change (NCCC) was created, bringing together national ministries involved in climate policies and includes consultation processes with civil society and the private and academic sectors. During 2017, the NCCC initiated the development of sectoral climate change action plans to organize the implementation of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. According to the last national greenhouse gas inventory (NGHGI), (for the year 2014) and submitted by Argentina to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in its Second Biennial Update Report (BUR), deforestation contributes to 14.5% of the total emissions of the country. The country recognized the key role forestry plays in achieving its NDCs goal not to exceed the net emission of 483 MtCO2eq by 2030.

In this context, and through the support of Argentina´s  UN-REDD National Programme, the country made crucial progress in preparing to fight climate change in the forestry sector. The country has recently presented its national REDD+ Strategy (recently uploaded to the UNFCCC REDD+ web platform), and its working towards strengthening its National Forest Monitoring System, constructing its national interpretation of the Cancun Safeguards, in the and as further explained in this article, in the construction and submission of its Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL).

Submission of the Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) to the UNFCCC

The Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) is the baseline used by countries implementing the REDD+ process for assessing a country's performance in the implementation of REDD + activities in terms of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the forestry sector and is a key requirement for countries to advance in the REDD+ process. Argentina submitted its FREL to the UNFCCC on January 7, 2019. The FREL, constructed by the Secretariat of the Environment and Sustainable Developmentand includes the forest regions of Parque Chaqueño,  Selva Tucumano Boliviana,  Selva Misionera and Espinal. These four regions represent approximately 90% of the territory covered by native forests. In addition, these regions represent the area where the greatest loss of forest cover occurs and, therefore, where the greatest amount of GHG emissions from deforestation occurs nationwide. The FREL was constructed using the historical average of annual gross emissions of CO2 due to deforestation, considering the aboveground and belowground biomass carbon stocks of the native forests, based on data for the 2002-2013 period, representing a total of  101 141 848 tCO2eq.

The GHG emissions data used for the development of the FREL comes from the NGHGI  prepared by the National Directorate on Climate Change (corresponding to the year 2016, which will be also used for the following BUR); in terms of activity data the information used is generated by the National Directorate on Forests. Despite its relevance, forest degradation is currently difficult to quantify and locate spatially. Therefore, it is not included in the current FREL. Based on the information generated by the NFMS and the development of complementary databases, it is expected that in the future it will be possible to have data that allow incorporating all the forest regions of the country, other activities, carbon deposits and GHGs.

The development and submission of the FREL is a milestone for the country which allows Argentina to comply with one of the necessary requirements to advance in its REDD+ process; at the same time, it allows the country to have a baseline to evaluate the progress towards reducing GHG emissions in the forestry sector.



About the authors:


Luigi 3

  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. coordinates the UN-REDD Programme in Argentina.



foto perfil DG

  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is the FAO technical expert for the UN-REDD Program in Argentina.



foto SP

  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is the FAO technical assistant for the UN-REDD Program in Argentina



FortunaS Profile - Copy

  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., FAO REDD+ Forestry Officer / UN-REDD and FAO Lead Technical Officer UN-REDD National Programme Argentina

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