As seen on CBS Money Watch

HOUQIAO, China — A report says that ensuring forest dwellers' rights over their own land is a crucial step in the effort to slow deforestation and combat climate change.

The Rights and Resources Initiative said Wednesday that studies of land reform and reforestation programs in China, India and Brazil drive home the necessity of ensuring local residents have a say over how forests are used.

Piles of timber along this southwestern Chinese highway show the progress, and the limits, of such efforts.

China's forest cover is increasing, though its timber imports contribute to deforestation elsewhere. The loss of those woodlands accounts for up to 20 percent of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere — equal to emissions from the world's cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships combined.

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