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U.N. Tropical Forest Plan May Threaten Species

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A United Nations plan to protect the world's tropical forests to fight climate change could threaten more animals and plants with extinction, scientists said on Monday. The U.N. scheme, to be discussed at climate talks in Copenhagen next month, could save some species, while inadvertently endangering many others, according to the team of international researchers.

LONDON - A United Nations plan to protect the world's tropical forests to fight climate change could threaten more animals and plants with extinction, scientists said on Monday.  The U.N. scheme, to be discussed at climate talks in Copenhagen next month, could save some species, while inadvertently endangering many others, according to the team of international researchers.

Under the plan, called REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation, poor countries will be paid to protect their trees to try to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Funded by a carbon market, it will let rich nations cut their emissions more cheaply.

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In a paper published in Current Biology magazine, the scientists warned that the market may target forests that are cheap to protect and rich in carbon and neglect those that have less carbon but more endangered animals and plants.

"We are concerned that governments will focus on cutting deforestation in the most carbon-rich forests, only for clearance pressures to shift to other high biodiversity forests which are not given priority for protection," said the team's joint leader, Alan Grainger, of the University of Leeds.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLG723912