REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries)
By Rhett A. Butler
This article presents the state of REDD+ as of 2012. There are regular updates on REDD+ in the news feed below.
REDD — reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries — is a proposed climate change mitigation mechanism that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by paying developing countries to stop cutting down their forests. Tropical deforestation is the source of 12-17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, a share larger than all the world's cars, trucks, ships, planes, and trains combined.
A properly designed REDD mechanism is widely seen as a cost-effective approach to simultaneously conserve forests, slow climate change, protect biodiversity, foster sustainable development, and maintain important ecological services provided by healthy forest ecosystems. The concept of REDD has won support from a wide range of interests, including conservationists, big business, scientists, governments, development agencies, and some environmental and indigenous rights groups. However concerns still remain over how REDD will be implemented and whether benefits will be fairly shared between stakeholders.
Smallholder deforestation in Borneo
History of REDDThe concept of REDD is not a new idea. Compensating tropical forest conservation was proposed by environmental scientists in the 1980s and 1990s but it wasn't until the later half of the 1990s that the idea gained much currency at the international level, when it was discussed at various United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) events, including COP3 in Kyoto in 1997. Nevertheless technical concerns and opposition from some environmental groups (led by WWF) resulted in forest conservation being excluded from the Kyoto Protocol by 2001.
The concept of 'avoided deforestation' re-emerged on the international stage in 2005 with the formation of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN), a group of tropical countries lobbying for the inclusion of forest conservation as a way to mitigate to climate change. Led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, the Coalition for Rainforest Nations presented a draft proposal "Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action" at COP11 in Montreal in 2005. Two years of negotiations and technical advancements culminated in the Bali Action Plan of December 2007, which called for "policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries [REDD], and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stock in developing countries." Support for REDD has deepened and broadened since Bali: REDD was one of the only areas of progress during climate talks in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Since its inception as "avoided deforestation", the forest protection mechanism has expanded to encompass forest degradation (the second "D" in REDD). It later evolved to include sustainable forest management (i.e. reducing impact logging) and reforestation, becoming known as REDD-plus ("REDD+").
Soy and Chaco forest
Key REDD issues
While there is now substantial support for REDD, many issues remain unsettled, including financing to support the mechanism and provide sufficient economic incentives to stop deforestation; criteria for establishing credible deforestation baselines; technical aspects of monitoring and verifying change in forest cover; concerns over poor governance and illegal logging; international leakage, whereby forest conservation in one country drives deforestation in another; scale of implementation, including the debate over "national" versus "sub-national" projects; equity, including land tenure, ownership, and participation of forest-dependent communities; questions on how to address drivers of deforestation including consumption in rich countries; sustainable forest management (i.e. reduced impact logging) versus protection of primary forests as intact ecosystems; protection of biodiversity and environmental services in non-carbon-rich ecosystems; and controversies over carbon offsets and including forest carbon in market-based trading schemes.
Although an agreement on REDD has still not been signed, projects are already underway in a number of countries and industrialized countries have committed billions of dollars to REDD start-up initiatives via the UN-REDD Programme, the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, and other entities. Once an agreement is finalized, 2013 is the earliest REDD would formally commence, following the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol.
The following overview is from the UN's Reporting REDD.
Once a system is in place, market-based
funding mechanisms such as carbon trading,
and private sector involvement, could be
introduced. Some proposals back a combination
of government and private sector funding.
Carbon trading is based on the idea that companies and governments may meet targets for reducing their carbon emissions by paying for carbon reductions elsewhere in the global economy instead. REDD could allow credits to be issued which would quantify the amount of carbon saved through 'avoided deforestation' — not cutting trees down. The credits could then be traded on carbon markets.
An advantage of carbon trading is that it could raise money quickly. A disadvantage is that flooding existing carbon markets with REDD credits could further dilute the already low value of carbon. A low carbon price means there is less incentive for companies to switch to technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
Developing countries would voluntarily opt in to the REDD mechanism, so for it to work the scheme would have to ensure that there is more money in protecting forests than in logging or agriculture. Because those responsible for commercially driven deforestation often control the forest area in which they operate, they need to be involved in REDD schemes. Typically, this involves paying them to manage the forest sustainably, or at least not to engage in large-scale logging or land conversion. REDD will have to compensate for income lost as a result of stopping forest clearance — known as the 'opportunity cost.' While REDD may be able to match this amount for poor farmers, matching lost income from lucrative agricultural production such as soya and oil palm cultivation or from valuable timber will be very costly. If payments are disrupted, or the amount falls short of the value of the timber in the forest or what could be grown on cleared land, a return to cutting down trees could quickly occur. To avert this problem, REDD would need to ensure a steady flow of funds over long periods. Negotiators concerned that fluctuations in the carbon market would be too erratic advocate a separate REDD fund based on donations from industrialized countries.
REDD ResourcesOfficial documents
- Methodological guidance for activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (PDF - 116 kB)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Copenhagen Accord (PDF - 116 kB)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Key REDD Programs
- UN-REDD Programme
- World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: REDD
Some notable REDD Publications
- Angelsen, A. et al (2008). Moving ahead with REDD: issues, options and implications PDF. CIFOR.
- Angelsen, A.; Brockhaus, M.; Kanninen, M.; Sills, E.; Sunderlin, W.D.; Wertz-Kanounnikoff, S.; Abdel Nour, H.O.; (eds.) (2009). Realising REDD+: National strategy and policy options PDF: English (3.9 MB). CIFOR.
- Baalman, P. and Schlamadinger, B. Scaling up AFOLU Mitigation Activities in Non-Annex I Countries. Climate Strategies.
- Betts, R., Gornall, J., Hughes, J., Kaye, N., McNeall, D., and Wiltshire, A. (2008). Forests and emissions. The Met Office Hadley Centre.
- Bond, I. et al (2009). Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services: A review and lessons for REDD. International Institute for Environment and Development
- Butler, R.A., Koh, L.P., and Ghazoul, J. (2009). REDD in the red: palm oil could undermine carbon payment schemes. Conservation Letters DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00047.x
- Cotula, L. and Mayers, J. (2009) Tenure in REDD: Start-point or afterthought? International Institute for Environment and Development
- Dooley, K. Griffiths, T., Leake, H., and Ozinga, S. (2008). Cutting Corners - World Bank's forest and carbon fund fails forests and peoples. FERN.
- Eliasch, J et al (2008). The Eliasch Review: Climate Change - Financing Global Forests.
- Franco, M. (2008) Carbon absorption and storage. School of Biological Sciences, Plymouth University.
- Grieg-Gran, M. (2008). The cost of avoiding deforestation. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
- Hall, R. REDD myths: a critical review of proposed mechanisms to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries. Friends of the Earth. December 2008.
- Hardcastle, P and Baird, D. (2008) Capability and cost assessment of the major forest nations to measure and monitor their forest carbon. LTS International.
- Hoare, A. et al (2008) Estimating the cost of building capacity in rainforest nations to allow them to participate in a global REDD mechanism , Chatham House, ProForest, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), EcoSecurities.
- Hope, C (2008)Valuing the climate change impacts of tropical deforestation. Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
- Hope, C and Castilla-Rubio, J C (2008) A first cost benefit analysis of action to reduce deforestation. Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
- Justin Moat, Charlotte Crouch, William Milliken, Paul Smith, Martin Hamilton and Susana BaenaRapid forest inventory and mapping: monitoring forest cover and land use change ,The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- Kellndorfer, J. (2007). New Eyes in the Sky: Cloud-Free Tropical Forest Monitoring for REDD with the Japanese Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) [PDF]. The Woods Hole Research Center. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP), Thirteenth session. 3-14 December 2007
- Laporte, N. et al (2007). Reducing CO2 emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [PDF]. Presented by the Woods Hole Research Center at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP), Thirteenth session 3-14 December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia.
- Madeira, E.C.M. (2008) Policies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Developing Countries. RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE.
- Miles, L., Kapos, V., Lysenko, I., and Campbell, A. (2008) Mapping vulnerability of tropical forest to conversion and resulting potential CO2 emissions. UNEP/WCMC.
- Mykola Gusti, Petr Havlik and Michael ObersteinerTechnical description of the IIASA model cluster , International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
- Nepstad, D. (2007). The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Brazilian Amazon [PDF]. The Woods Hole Research Center. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP), Thirteenth session. 3-14 December 2007
- Olander, L., Boyd, W., Lawlor, K., Madeira, E.M., and Niles, J.O. (2009). International Forest Carbon and the Climate Change Challenge: Issues and Options. Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.
- Olander, L., Boyd, W., Lawlor, K., Madeira, E.M., and Niles, J.O.(2009). Including International Forest Carbon Incentives in Climate Policy: Understanding the Economics. Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.
- Olander, L., Boyd, W., Lawlor, K., Madeira, E.M., and Niles, J.O.(2009). The Crucial Role of Forests in Combating Climate Change. Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.
- Parker, C., Mitchell, A., Trivedi, M., and Mardas, N. (2008). Little REDD Book. Global Canopy Programme
- Sajwaj, T., Harley, M., and Parker, C. (2008) Forest management impacts on ecosystem services. AEA.
- Sathaye, J. (2008). Updating carbon density and opportunity cost parameters in deforesting regions in the GCOMAP model. Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES).
- Schwartzman, S., Nepstad, D., and Moutinho, P (2007). GETTING REDD RIGHT - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Environmental Defense / The Woods Hole Research Center / Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM).
- Stickler, C et al (2007). Readiness For Redd: A Preliminary Global Assessment Of Tropical Forested Land Suitability For Agriculture [PDF]. The Woods Hole Research Center. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP), Thirteenth session. 3-14 December 2007
- Thoumi, G. (2009) Emeralds on the Equator: An Avoided Deforestation Carbon Markets Strategy Manual. University of Michigan
- Viana, V. Financing REDD: how government funds can work with the carbon market. International Institute for Environment and Development
- Wilson, E. (2009). Company-Led Approaches to Conflict Resolution in the Forest Sector. [PDF 298K] The Forests Dialogue, Connecticut, US
The following overview is from the UN's Reporting REDD.
Extra amount of carbon saved or stored because of projects carried out through climate change agreements.
Baseline or Reference level (RL)
Historical reference point (date or year) against which the rate of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation or forest degradation can be compared.
The right to use carbon credits or offsets to satisfy limits on greenhouse gas emissions or to reduce penalties for exceeding the limit imposed.
Ecosystem that accumulates and stores carbon.
Removal of carbon from the atmosphere and storage in carbon sinks through natural or human-induced methods.
The process of buying and selling carbon credits. Large companies or organizations are assigned targets for the amount of carbon they are allowed to emit. A company that exceeds its target will need to buy carbon credits to offset the extra carbon it has emitted. A company that uses less than its quota can sell surplus credits.
The conversion of forest land to non-forested land through human activity.
Human-induced long-term loss of forest, characterized by the reduction of tree crown cover, but not yet considered as complete deforestation.
Tribe or community native to a particular region and sharing a collective identity who retain some or all of their own social, cultural and political institutions.
Leakage or emissions displacement
When efforts to reduce emissions in one area lead to an increase in carbon emissions in another area.
Obligation on the implementing party to guarantee that the emissions reduction credited in the REDD scheme is permanent.
Actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
Payment to emissions reduction projects to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions.
The cost of compensating for financial gains from deforestation practices such as logging or agriculture.
The following definitions are from the International Institute for Environment and Development.
The acronym stands for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’. This issue was first placed on the agenda of the 2005 international climate change negotiations. At that point the agenda item was called ‘reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries and approaches to stimulate action’. As a result, this is the name of the decision on REDD agreed at the 2007 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia (decision 2/CP.13). Decision 2/CP.13 acknowledges that forest degradation also leads to emissions and needs to be addressed when reducing emissions from deforestation. The ‘DD’ in REDD now stands for degradation and deforestation.
Along with the separate decision on REDD (see above), REDD is included in the Bali Action Plan (decision 1/CP.13) as a component of enhanced action on mitigation (curbing emissions). Parties to the UNFCCC have agreed to consider policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to REDD in developing countries and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries. It is this last clause on the role of conservation and sustainable management that has added the ‘+’ to the REDD discussion.
An expected, or business-as-usual, emission of carbon dioxide from deforestation and forest degradation in the absence of additional efforts to curb such emissions — used as a benchmark against which emissions reductions can be measured.
To deliver real reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, REDD must satisfy the following conditions.
THE LATEST REDD+ NEWS FROM MONGABAY
COP27 boosts carbon trading and ‘non-market’ conservation: But can they save forests? (22 Nov 2022 20:06:23 +0000)
- For the first time ever at a climate summit, the final text of this month’s COP27 included a “forests” section and a reference to “nature-based solutions,” — recognizing the important role nature can play in curbing human-caused climate change. But it’s too early to declare a victory for forests.
- By referencing REDD+, the text could breathe new life into this UN framework, which has so far failed to be a game-changer in the fight against deforestation as many hoped it would be.
- COP27 also took a step toward implementing Article 6.4 of the Paris agreement, a mechanism that some see as a valid market-based climate solution, though others judge it as just another “bogus” carbon trading scheme.
- Many activists are pinning their hopes instead on Article 6.8, which aims to finance the protection of ecosystems through “non-market approaches” like grants, rather than with carbon credits.
In new climate deal, Norway will pay Indonesia $56 million for drop in deforestation, emissions (01 Nov 2022 06:18:13 +0000)
- This year, Norway will pay Indonesia $56 million for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
- Both countries struck a new climate deal in September, in which Norway will provide support for Indonesia’s bid to curb deforestation and forest degradation, with the aim that Indonesia’s forests will turn into a carbon sink by 2030.
- Norway was supposed to pay the $56 million in 2020 under its previous climate agreement with Indonesia, but the Nordic country failed to pay, resulting in Indonesia terminating the original agreement.
Australian oil and gas firm Invictus awarded carbon offset project in Zimbabwe (12 Oct 2022 12:13:48 +0000)
- The REDD+ project covers three national forest reserves near Hwange National Park and comes as Invictus has begun to drill for oil and gas in the north of the country
- Invictus says based on estimates still to be verified, the offset project could sequester 1 million metric tons of carbon per year, making its oil and gas drilling carbon neutral.
- Conservationists question the logic behind leveraging state forest reserves for REDD+ projects, saying they favor instead a “wildlife economy approach” to restoring landscapes.
Podcast: Could Brazil’s election decide the fate of the Amazon? (20 Sep 2022 19:04:28 +0000)
- In a new podcast dialogue with Mongabay’s top tropical forest news commentator (and CEO), Rhett A. Butler, we catch up on the biggest trends and news, like the upcoming Brazilian presidential election, which could alter the outlook for the Amazon going forward should Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva win: with 2022 looking like the worst year for Brazilian Amazon deforestation in 15 years, Lula’s campaigning on Amazon conservation and has a long track record on the topic.
- We also discuss Norway and Indonesia, which just renewed a previously canceled REDD+ agreement, in which Norwegians will pay to keep Indonesian forests standing.
- And the European Parliament voted in favor of a bill banning the import of 14 commodities linked to deforestation, setting a policy precedent requiring entities to track the supply chain of common goods derived from both legal and illegal deforestation into the EU.
- We discuss how these trends and new/renewed initiatives could change the prospects for global tropical forests amid the context of tipping points that some experts say we may have already passed.
Indonesia and Norway give REDD+ deal another go after earlier breakup (12 Sep 2022 15:04:46 +0000)
- Indonesia and Norway have embarked on another REDD+ scheme that will see the latter pay the former to keep its forests standing, after a previous attempt failed because of lack of payment.
- Indonesia is home to the third-largest expanse of tropical rainforest in the world, and the bulk of its greenhouse gas emissions comes from land-use change, forest degradation, and deforestation.
- Officials from both countries say it’s of mutual benefit to both countries, and to the world, to preserve Indonesia’s forests boost their capacity to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
- Under the new deal, payments still outstanding from the previous agreement, which was terminated in 2021, will be honored.
‘That’s a scam’: Indian firm’s REDD+ carbon deal in the DRC raises concern (14 Jun 2022 16:17:09 +0000)
- Environmental and human rights advocacy organizations say an Indian company has misled communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, convincing them to sign away the rights to sell carbon credits from the restoration, reforestation or avoided deforestation of locally managed forests.
- These forests, managed under a structure known by the French acronym CFCL, provide communities with control over how land is managed while giving them access to the resources the forests provide, proponents of the initiative say.
- But the contracts, the implications of which were not fairly or adequately explained to community members, may restrict their access to the forests for generations to come, the advocacy groups say.
- These organizations and the communities are now calling on the Congolese government to cancel the contracts.
Does citizen ownership of natural resources hold the key to realizing deforestation commitments? (commentary) (06 Jun 2022 20:51:45 +0000)
- The approaches to COP26’s global commitment to stop deforestation by 2030 may be inadequate, as they can only partly address the major drivers of deforestation.
- An additional approach based on transparent economic data disclosure and mobilization of public awareness could be a promising addition to that commitment.
- Such approaches that emphasize citizen ownership of natural resources, and which quantify net owner shares, losses, and the very large prospective societal returns, could work, a new op-ed argues.
- This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.
NGOs alert U.N. to furtive 2-million-hectare carbon deal in Malaysian Borneo (17 Mar 2022 04:28:21 +0000)
- Civil society organizations have complained to the United Nations about an opaque “natural capital” agreement in the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo.
- The agreement, signed behind closed doors in October 2021, involved representatives from the state government and Hoch Standard Pte. Ltd., a Singaporean firm. But it did not involve substantive input from the state’s numerous Indigenous communities, many of whom live in or near forests.
- The terms ostensibly give Hoch Standard the right to monetize carbon and other natural capital from Sabah’s forests for 100 years.
- Along with the recent letter to the U.N., the state’s attorney general has questioned whether the agreement is enforceable without changes to key provisions. An Indigenous leader is also suing the state over the agreement, and Hoch Standard may be investigated by the Singaporean government after rival political party leaders in Sabah reported the company to Singapore’s ambassador in Malaysia.
Podcast: Are ‘nature based solutions’ the best fix for climate change? (09 Mar 2022 23:22:03 +0000)
- On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we discuss mangrove restoration and other nature based solutions to climate change.
- We speak with Alfredo Quarto, co-founder and program and policy director of the Mangrove Action Project, who tells us about the ongoing destruction of mangrove forests around the world, why it’s so important to restore these coastal ecosystems, and what makes for successful mangrove restoration projects.
- We also speak with Norah Berk, a policy advisor on climate change and forests at the Rainforest Foundation UK, who tells us that nature based solutions have, in many cases, been co-opted by corporations that are using them as part of carbon offset schemes, and discusses why she thinks land titling for Indigenous and local communities is the solution to climate change that we should be focusing on.
Indigenous-led report warns against ‘simplistic take on conservation’ (08 Mar 2022 04:19:48 +0000)
- To deal with climate change and biodiversity loss effectively and equitably, conservation needs to adopt a human rights-based approach, according to a new report co-authored by Indigenous and community organizations across Asia.
- Unlike spatial conservation targets such as “30 by 30,” a rights-based approach would recognize the ways in which Indigenous people lead local conservation efforts, and prioritize their tenure rights in measuring conservation success.
- Without tenure rights, strict spatial conservation targets could lead to human rights abuses, widespread evictions of Indigenous communities across Asia, and high resettlement costs, the report warned.
- Also without tenure rights, the inflow of money into nature-based solutions such as carbon offsets and REDD+ projects could also result in massive land grabs instead of benefiting local communities.
Climate change a threat to human well-being and health of the planet: New IPCC report (28 Feb 2022 14:32:29 +0000)
- The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on the impacts of climate change on people, detailing areas of vulnerability and steps for adaptation to the changes brought about by Earth’s warming temperatures.
- The report, the second of three that will be part of the IPCC’s sixth assessment, highlights the importance of Indigenous and local knowledge in grappling with climate change and its effects on weather, water availability and food sources.
- It also notes that some segments of society, especially the most vulnerable, will bear a disproportionate burden as a result of climate change.
- The authors of the report and other climate researchers emphasize that urgent action is needed, both to address the causes of climate change and improve the capability of people to adapt to it.
Malaysian officials dampen prospects for giant, secret carbon deal in Sabah (10 Feb 2022 20:33:18 +0000)
- The attorney general of the Malaysian state of Sabah has said that a contentious deal for the right to sell credits for carbon and other natural capital will not come into force unless certain provisions are met.
- Mongabay first reported that the 100-year agreement, which involves the protection of some 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres) from activities such as logging, was signed in October 2021 between the state and a Singapore-based firm called Hoch Standard.
- Several leaders in the state, including the attorney general, have called for more due diligence on the companies involved in the transaction.
- Civil society representatives say that a technical review of the agreement is necessary to vet claims about its financial value to the state and its feasibility.
Indigenous leader sues over Borneo natural capital deal (17 Dec 2021 10:06:53 +0000)
- An Indigenous leader in Sabah is suing the Malaysian state on the island of Borneo over an agreement signing away the rights to monetize the natural capital coming from the state’s forests to a foreign company.
- Civil society and Indigenous organizations say local communities were not consulted or asked to provide input prior to the agreement’s signing on Oct. 28.
- Further questions have arisen about whether the company, Hoch Standard, that secured the rights under the agreement has the required experience or expertise necessary to implement the terms of the agreement.
The past, present and future of the Congo peatlands: 10 takeaways from our series (16 Dec 2021 07:04:00 +0000)
This is the wrap-up article for our four-part series “The Congo Basin peatlands.” Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four. In the first half of December, Mongabay published a four-part series on the peatlands of the Congo Basin. Only in 2017 did a team of Congolese and British scientists discover that a […]
Carbon and communities: The future of the Congo Basin peatlands (14 Dec 2021 06:02:53 +0000)
- Scientific mapping in 2017 revealed that the peatlands of the Cuvette Centrale in the Congo Basin are the largest and most intact in the world’s tropics.
- That initial work, first published in the journal Nature, was just the first step, scientists say, as work continues to understand how the peatlands formed, what threats they face from the climate and industrial uses like agriculture and logging, and how the communities of the region appear to be coexisting sustainably.
- Researchers say investing in studying and protecting the peatlands will benefit the global community as well as people living in the region because the Cuvette Centrale holds a vast repository of carbon.
- Congolese researchers and leaders say they are eager to safeguard the peatlands for the benefit of everyone, but they also say they need support from abroad to do so.
Holding agriculture and logging at bay in the Congo peatlands (09 Dec 2021 06:22:23 +0000)
- The peatlands of the Congo Basin are perhaps the most intact in the tropics, but threats from logging, agriculture and extractive industries could cause their rapid degradation, scientists say.
- In 2021, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced that it was planning to end a moratorium on the issuance of logging concessions that had been in place for nearly two decades.
- The move raised concerns among conservation groups, who say the moratorium should remain in place to protect the DRC’s portion of the world’s second-largest rainforest.
- Today, timber concession boundaries overlap with the peatlands, and though some companies say they won’t cut trees growing on peat, environmental advocates say that any further issuance of logging concessions in the DRC would be irresponsible.
Layers of carbon: The Congo Basin peatlands and oil (07 Dec 2021 05:39:59 +0000)
- The peatlands of the Congo Basin may be sitting on top of a pool of oil, though exploration has yet to confirm just how big it may be.
- Conservationists and scientists argue that the carbon contained in this England-size area of peat, the largest in the tropics, makes keeping them intact more valuable, not to mention the habitat and resources they provide for the region’s wildlife and people.
- Researchers calculate that the peatlands contain 30 billion metric tons of carbon, or about the amount humans produce in three years.
- As the governments of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo work to develop their economies, they, along with many policymakers worldwide, argue that the global community has a responsibility to help fund the protection of the peatlands to keep that climate-warming carbon locked away.
‘Forests will disappear again,’ activists warn as Indonesia ends plantation freeze (06 Dec 2021 16:56:42 +0000)
- With the Indonesian government refusing to renew a three-year ban on issuing licenses for new oil palm plantations, experts are warning of a deforestation free-for-all.
- The end of the moratorium means companies can once again apply to develop new plantations, including clearing forests to do.
- This coincides with a rally in the crude palm oil price due to tightening supply, which activists say portends a possible surge in deforestation.
- According to one analysis, rainforests spanning an area half the size of California, or 21 million hectares (52 million acres), are at risk of being cleared now that the moratorium is no longer in place.
The ‘idea’: Uncovering the peatlands of the Congo Basin (02 Dec 2021 12:15:31 +0000)
- In 2017, a team of scientists from the U.K. and the Republic of Congo announced the discovery of a massive peatland the size of England in the Congo Basin.
- Sometimes called the Cuvette Centrale, this peatland covers 145,529 square kilometers (56,189 square miles) in the northern Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and holds about 20 times as much carbon as the U.S. releases from burning fossil fuels in a year.
- Today, the Congo Basin peatlands are relatively intact while supporting nearby human communities and a variety of wildlife species, but threats in the form of agriculture, oil and gas exploration and logging loom on the horizon.
- That has led scientists, conservationists and governments to look for ways to protect and better understand the peatlands for the benefit of the people and animals they support and the future of the global climate.
How sharing and learning from failures can transform conservation (commentary) (18 Nov 2021 20:04:47 +0000)
- There is a long history of failure in joint conservation and development projects, prompting growing efforts to explicitly acknowledge the value of failure as a means to learn and further success.
- The authors of a new paper find that the framing of failures is problematic in two main ways – it can reduce accountability for negative project impacts on people and nature, and it can also reinforce dominant conservation paradigms and approaches that are insufficient to address the biodiversity crisis.
- It is important to openly and critically examine failure in conservation, they argue in this opinion piece, but to do so in ways that genuinely question existing approaches and open up opportunities for transformation.
- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of Mongabay.
Participants in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility as of 2012
Argentina, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Madagascar, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Congo, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.
Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tanzania, Viet Nam, and Zambia.