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
Indigenous Land in the Brazilian Amazon is a brake on deforestation and may start generating carbon credits (20 Sep 2021 16:50:14 +0000)
- A study says that Brazil’s Puyanawa Indigenous people will prevent around 6,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year by 2025, equivalent to about $38,000 annually.
- Practices such as putting agricultural activities in previously degraded areas, forest restoration and agroforestry have prevented deforestation in their western Amazon reserve, which has dropped by half in recent years.
- The latest survey from Brazilian mapping project Mapbiomas shows that the country’s forests and native vegetation are best preserved in Indigenous territories.
Indonesia terminates agreement with Norway on $1b REDD+ scheme (10 Sep 2021 14:36:39 +0000)
- The Indonesian government has decided to terminate a $1 billion deal with Norway under which Indonesia preserves its rainforests to curb carbon dioxide emissions.
- The Indonesian government says the decision is made after thorough consultations and cites lack of progress in the payment by Norway as one of the reasons for the termination.
- The Indonesian government says it remains committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite ending the agreement.
- The Norwegian government says the two governments had been engaged in discussions on a legal agreement for the transfer of the payment, and the discussions were still ongoing and progressing well up until the announcement.
Even as the government bets big on carbon, REDD+ flounders in Madagascar (18 Aug 2021 12:38:46 +0000)
- The Malagasy government’s decision to ban the sale of carbon credits as it reworks its REDD+ strategy has left all existing REDD+ projects in a limbo.
- The island nation only has a handful of projects, all helmed by foreign NGOs, which take advantage of the U.N.’s reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) program to raise money by selling carbon credits.
- Madagascar’s environment minister singled out an initiative by U.K.-based nonprofit Blue Ventures, criticizing it for striking a deal promising too little: $27,000 per year for 10 villages. The NGO disputes this appraisal.
- The government’s move to nationalize carbon ownership comes against the backdrop of familiar concerns about REDD+, in particular: how much do communities benefit from keeping forests standing?
Hartree Partners to channel $2 billion toward new carbon credits (28 Jul 2021 17:14:10 +0000)
- Global energy and commodities trading house Hartree Partners has pledged to channel more than $2 billion of private sector investments toward creating new carbon credits.
- Companies can purchase carbon credits from sources that are protecting or restoring natural carbon sinks to offset their carbon emissions. However, as more companies move toward voluntary carbon markets, the demand for carbon credits is expected to outpace the supply.
- Hartree Partners will be working with Wildlife Works, an established conservation organization, to create 20 million voluntary carbon credits a year, beginning in 2023 — representing a 40% increase in the availability of verified, avoided-deforestation projects.
- The voluntary carbon market has been the subject of much criticism and debate, with advocates arguing that it is a means to reduce emissions through safeguarding nature. Critics say the market is hard to regulate and may allow companies to avoid the equally crucial work of reducing emissions.
Gabon becomes first African country to get paid for protecting its forests (20 Jul 2021 12:58:29 +0000)
- Gabon recently received the first $17 million of a pledged $150 million from Norway for results-based emission reduction payments as part of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI).
- Gabon has 88% forest cover and has limited annual deforestation to less than 0.1% over the last 30 years, in large part possible due to oil revenues supporting the economy.
- With oil reserves running low, Gabon is looking to diversify and develop its economy without sacrificing its forests by building a sustainable forest economy supported by schemes such as CAFI.
US, UK join Norway and Germany in effort to protect Peru’s rainforests (04 Jun 2021 00:25:04 +0000)
- Britain and the United States have joined Norway and Germany in supporting efforts by the Peruvian government to reduce deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon.
- The U.S. and U.K. have signed on to the existing reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) program established in 2014 by Norway and Germany with the government of Peru.
- Norway and Germany have agreed to extend their participation in the program through 2025, pledging 1.8 billion Norwegian Krone ($215 million) and 210 million euros ($255 million), respectively, based on Peru’s progress in curbing deforestation.
- Deforestation in Peru has been trending upward since the mid-2010s, according to data from the World Resource Institute’s Global Forest Watch. Primary forest loss reached 190,000 hectares in 2020, the highest level since at least 2002.
Governments, companies pledge $1 billion for tropical forests (23 Apr 2021 16:47:59 +0000)
- The U.S., U.K. and Norwegian governments, working with private companies, have launched a carbon credit program that they say will pay double the going rate over existing schemes.
- Others involved in the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) coalition include Amazon, pharmaceutical giants GSK and Bayer, and consumer goods multinationals Nestlé and Unilever.
- The scheme is built on the REDD+ program, which has allowed companies to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions generated in their operations by paying tropical forest countries to keep an equivalent volume of carbon locked up in their forests.
- Its proponents say it improves on REDD+ by working with larger units of land, thus addressing the issues of leakage (deforestation being displaced to a nearby forest patch), and other methods are meant to ensure additionality (avoiding credits being issued from forests that would have been conserved anyway).
As COP26 looms and tropical deforestation soars, REDD+ debate roars on (15 Apr 2021 20:23:09 +0000)
- The United Nations REDD+ program (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) has been operating for more than 13 years as a multipurpose initiative, intended to curb deforestation in tropical nations, sequester forest carbon, combat climate change, protect biodiversity, and aid poor rural communities.
- The REDD+ mechanism is largely paid for by wealthy industrialized countries contributing funds to less developed tropical nations, including those in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Indonesia.
- Some 600 REDD+ projects have been initiated to date (with some 400 still active), mostly implemented by socioenvironmental NGOs or for-profit project developers, and financed by more than $10 billion in donor funds in more than 65 countries. But evidence of avoided deforestation and reduced carbon emissions is controversial.
- With the COP26 Glasgow climate summit looming in November, Mongabay invited experts to weigh in on the global initiative’s successes and failings, with some supporting expansion of REDD+ via revised program rules and funding, while others support major reforms, or even the initiative’s replacement.
Government inaction prompts voluntary REDD+ carbon credit boom in Brazil (06 Apr 2021 20:57:16 +0000)
- With the Bolsonaro government largely indifferent to participating in a carbon credit market, and amid intensifying pressure from clients and investors, a voluntary carbon credit market is booming in Brazil. The country, however, still doesn’t have any regulation about how and by whom credits can be issued.
- REDD+ projects that issue carbon credits for reforesting or avoiding deforestation have caught the attention of financial market players. Amid the new carbon credit trading firms, such as financial technology company Moss, and other initiatives, Brazilian projects offer both examples of success and failure in forest preservation.
- REDD+ supporters argue Brazil’s voluntary carbon credit market is allowing small-scale farmers and Indigenous and traditional people to get in the game, benefiting them financially, and helping conserve forests and protect the Earth’s climate.
- But critics say it’s difficult to ensure that forest conservation promises made today can be kept in the future, especially in a nation notorious for illegal deforestation and record forest fires. Also, protecting one area can simply drive the deforestation to another area.
Global forest loss increased in 2020 (31 Mar 2021 04:01:10 +0000)
- The planet lost an area of tree cover larger than the United Kingdom in 2020, including more than 4.2 million hectares of primary tropical forests, according to data released today by the University of Maryland.
- Tree cover loss rose in both the tropics and temperate regions, but the rate of increase in loss was greatest in primary tropical forests, led by rising deforestation and incidence of fire in the Amazon, Earth’s largest rainforest.
- The data, which is now available on World Resource Institute’s Global Forest Watch, indicate that forest loss remained persistently high in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, but “does not show obvious, systemic shifts in forest loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to WRI.
- Destruction of primary tropical forests, the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems, released 2.64 billion tons of carbon, an amount equivalent to the annual emissions of 570 million cars.
Ambitious return to carbon markets to conserve Africa’s forests (28 Jan 2021 23:23:20 +0000)
- Growth of voluntary carbon market and new investor interest in natural climate solutions in Africa prompts The Nature Conservancy to launch effort to help local enterprises raise $300 million for forest conservation.
- The Africa Forest Carbon Catalyst will initially identify existing projects with potential to protect 100,000 hectares of natural forest or sequester three million tonnes of CO2 over 10 years.
- Clarifying and securing the rights, involvement, and benefits for local communities is a key challenge.
Rainforests: 11 things to watch in 2021 (01 Jan 2021 12:00:44 +0000)
- 2020 was a rough year for tropical rainforest conservation efforts. So what’s in store for 2021?
- Mongabay Founder Rhett A. Butler reviews some of 11 key things to watch in the world of rainforests in 2021.
- These include: the post COVID recovery; the transition of power in the U.S.; deforestation in Indonesia; deforestation in Brazil; the effects of the La Niña climate pattern; ongoing destabilization of tropical forests; government to government carbon deals; data that will allow better assessment of the impact of COVID on tropical forests; companies incorporating forest-risk into decision-making; ongoing violence against environmental defenders; and whether international policy meetings can get back on track.
How the pandemic impacted rainforests in 2020: a year in review (28 Dec 2020 19:25:42 +0000)
- 2020 was supposed to be a make-or-break year for tropical forests. It was the year when global leaders were scheduled to come together to assess the past decade’s progress and set the climate and biodiversity agendas for the next decade. These included emissions reductions targets, government procurement policies and corporate zero-deforestation commitments, and goals to set aside protected areas and restore degraded lands.
- COVID-19 upended everything: Nowhere — not even tropical rainforests — escaped the effects of the global pandemic. Conservation was particularly hard in tropical countries.
- 2019’s worst trends for forests mostly continued through the pandemic including widespread forest fires, rising commodity prices, increasing repression and violence against environmental defenders, and new laws and policies in Brazil and Indonesia that undermine forest conservation.
- We don’t yet have numbers on the degree to which the pandemic affected deforestation, because it generally takes several months to process that data. That being said, there are reasons to suspect that 2020’s forest loss will again be substantial.
REDD+ carbon and deforestation cuts in Amazon overestimated: Study (02 Nov 2020 17:03:00 +0000)
- A new study analyzed 12 REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) voluntary projects conducted in the Brazilian Amazon.
- Researchers found that the projects’ claimed reductions in forest loss and carbon emissions were seriously overstated due to poorly set deforestation rate baselines that didn’t properly account for other successful forest loss reductions that were achieved separately by the Brazilian government.
- To correct this problem in future, the researchers expressed the “need to better align project- and national-level carbon accounting,” while at the same time striking a balance between “controlling conservation investment risk and ensuring the environmental integrity of carbon emission offsets.”
- Suggestions for achieving more reliable carbon accounting include: only taking into account the most recent years of deforestation, relying on more complex models that look at the price of agricultural commodities, and comparing deforestation to similar areas not involved in REDD+ projects.
Forest degradation outpaces deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Study (05 Oct 2020 13:02:02 +0000)
- Brazilian Amazon deforestation rates have declined from, and stayed below, their 2003 peak, despite recent increases. However, this decline was offset by a trend of increased forest degradation, according to an analysis of 23 years of satellite data. By 2014, the rate of degradation overtook deforestation, driven by increases in logging and understory burning.
- During the 1992-2014 study period, 337,427 square kilometers suffered a loss of vegetation, compared to 308,311 square kilometers completely cleared, a finding that has serious implications for global greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.
- Forest degradation has been connected to outbreaks of infectious diseases as a result of increased contact between humans and displaced wildlife. Degradation can also facilitate the emergence of new diseases and some experts warn that the Amazon could be the source of the next pandemic.
- These findings could have major implications for Brazilian national commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as international agreements and initiatives such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and REDD+, which rely on forest degradation monitoring.
Experts question integrity of Indonesia’s claim of avoided deforestation (08 Sep 2020 08:23:29 +0000)
- The $103.8 million is payment for 20.3 million tons of avoided emissions from 2014-2016, but observers, including on the GCF board, have questioned the way the Indonesian government arrived at that figure.
- Among the contentious points: a reference level that may be inflated, possible double counting, and persistent state neglect of Indigenous rights.
- The government says the process was transparent, and may be eligible for even more funding once it starts accounting for peatland fires in its baseline calculations.
In the battle to save forests, a make-or-break moment for REDD+ (15 Jul 2020 09:57:44 +0000)
- In Part Two of this series delving into REDD+, Mongabay looks at whether it can still accomplish the stated mission, what it would take to make that happen, and why, despite more than a decade of disappointment and controversy, REDD+ true believers still hold out hope.
- REDD+ advocates have now hung their hopes on a private sector suddenly hungry to buy carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Private sector demand for carbon credits, they hope, will increase the volume and push up the price of REDD+ carbon credits, both of which are necessary to drive much-needed financing into forest conservation.
- In early 2020, this hope appeared closer than ever to becoming a reality — then the coronavirus pandemic hit, causing private sector demand for carbon credits to plummet. Some of this decrease could turn out to be short term, but demand from at least one key sector, the airline industry, could take years to rebound.
- Another challenge facing REDD+ is a disagreement over whether individual project developers should be allowed to sell carbon credits directly to buyers, or if that should be left to the countries or states where the projects are located.
The U.N.’s grand plan to save forests hasn’t worked, but some still believe it can (14 Jul 2020 14:01:28 +0000)
- Part one explores REDD+’s evolution up to the present: how a lofty plan meant to generate large-scale financing for global forest conservation and climate mitigation became a patchwork of individual projects and programs that have failed to achieve the central goal of curbing deforestation.
- Recent developments could represent something of a turning point for REDD+, including the first large-scale, “results-based” funding — the conditional financial incentives seen as key to REDD+’s success — from the U.N.-REDD Programme and the World Bank, and a surge in private-sector dollars for forest conservation and reforestation projects that could mark the beginning of a significant new source of cash.
- However, challenges remain to delivering REDD+ at its intended scale, not least of which is the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, which could potentially trip up progress just as REDD+ looked poised to gain some real ground.
Market-based solutions cannot solely fund community-level conservation (commentary) (11 May 2020 16:48:03 +0000)
- In the last two decades, conservation and the market economy merged into what is called “neoliberal conservation,” where economic growth and the protection of nature are thought to be essentially compatible.
- However, conservation in places like North Sumatra will be last on the agenda when markets tumble and the economic system that people are now addicted to – in even the most remote places – collapses.
- Schemes like ecotourism and payment for ecosystem services should be paired with programs like sustainable local agriculture to prevent the re-emergence of poaching and illegal logging, and to ensure that conservation-oriented behaviors persist when markets fail.
- This article is a commentary and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mongabay.
Tourism has crashed: Are carbon credits the future for funding conservation in Africa? (29 Apr 2020 22:45:13 +0000)
- Protected areas in Africa are grossly underfunded, leaving them exposed to degradation.
- Tanzania’s Yaeda Valley REDD+ project demonstrates how carbon credits can provide communities and governments economic incentives to protect valuable habitat.
- Real potential to replicate the model elsewhere — and ensure conserving carbon stocks leads to conserving wildlife — remains uncertain.
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.