UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn: “Forest conservation offers great potential”


DAAD scholarship holder Carolle Alarcon: "Attending the Climate Change Conference is a great opportunity for networking and for meeting old friends and colleagues as well"

Brazilian Carolle Alarcon Eichmann is aware of the value of forests for climate protection. As a scholarship holder of the DAAD’s Development-Related Postgraduate Courses (EPOS) programme she is studying Tropical Forestry at Technische Universität Dresden – and at the moment is attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

Ms. Alarcon, what does climate change mean for you?

Carolle Alarcon Eichmann: I come from Brazil, a country with huge forests. For that reason, I’m particularly interested in forest and land use aspects of climate change. Globally speaking, forests store a significantly high amount of carbon. Sustainable management, plantation and rehabilitation of forests can conserve or increase forest carbon stocks. In Brazil the majority of CO2 emissions come from land-use change and deforestation. Accordingly, forest conservation offers great potential for protecting the world’s climate.

What prompted you to study forests?

In 2010 I graduated in Environmental Management and then worked in the Amazon region, mainly in the management of protected areas, as well as in the monitoring and evaluation of environmental policy. I got to know several very remote, conserved areas with traditional, indigenous communities – and at the same time the government’s work with regard to various lobbies. These different perspectives made me aware of the key role forests play in the development of the Amazon region. It also includes the maintenance of biodiversity and the protection of the indigenous population. I wanted to deepen my knowledge and specialize career-wise in forest conservation. That led to the Tropical Forestry Master’s degree course in Dresden.

What value does studying in Dresden have for you?

Technische Universität Dresden has an excellent reputation and is one of the universities worldwide that have been studying sustainable forest use for a long time now. The university is also multicultural and international in terms of atmosphere. My time in Dresden is an extremely valuable experience, with regard to my professional and my personal life. And I must confess, I’m also having a lot of fun.

How do you come to be attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn?

I’m a member of a delegation from the Brazilian Institute for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Amazon (IDESAM), the NGO I worked for before I began studying in Dresden. I’m particularly interested in the discussions about activities which in the Kyoto Protocol were listed under “Land use, land-use change and forestry”, or LULUCF. And, of course, I’m interested in any links to Brazil and Latin America that relate directly to my studies in Dresden. Attending the Climate Change Conference is a great opportunity for networking and for meeting old friends and colleagues as well.

What are you planning for the future?

Based on my experience at regional level I would like to move in the direction of international nature conservation. Landscape scale management particularly appeals to me. I see my future at the interface between local, national, and international initiatives for the conservation of forests in the Amazon region. The decision to study Tropical Forestry at TU Dresden was the first step towards that.

Interview: Bettina Mittelstraß (16. November 2017)