Forests, climate change and REDD

IIED has recently published two papers that focus on forests, livelihoods and addressing the problem of climatic change through the REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) approach.

As deforestation accounts for approximately 17 percent of global greenhouse emissions, the REDD approach looks at ways and means of assisting forest communtities to find alternatives to forest felling, unsustainable agricultural practices and poverty alleviation.

REDD is one the tools that is being looked at by the international community as one of the tools likely to feature in the new global plan to tackle climate change that governments are negotiating this year.

Click here to read about REDD in the Brazilian rainforests.
Click here to read about financing REDD

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Maintained by staff at Bioversity International Library, this blog aims to provide readers with updates on new information resources within the field of plant genetic resources (PGR), agrobiodiversity and conservation; [with a little fun thrown in as well].
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2 Responses to Forests, climate change and REDD

  1. Iip says:

    The report seems interesting

    REDD mechanism needs to be developed well based on main principle of equity and fairness between developed countries and developing countries.

    There are some critics that this mechanism will neglect tenure right of local people. Thus, how the benefit for local people are not clear.

    To make an effort of avoided deforestation is urgent. But considering local people and their rights is very very urgent

  2. K Lawrence says:

    The opinions shared simply indicate that we have moved from theoretical discussions about how REDD could operate to practical examples of its implementation. Its great that we have this example and others like it, because they have met some basic enabling criteria which can be clearly identified and understood for their repetition or application in other areas. However there are some critical questions still to be answered such as:

    1. Where there is illegal logging and unsustainble use/extraction of forest products in an area, how are these stakeholders going to respond to maintain their interests if a REDD mechanism is in place.

    2. where there is little supportive infrastructure or easy access to bank accounts (or lack of literacy) how are financial benefits going to flow into communities in a way that local elites do not syphon off these benefits.

    3. Where there are weak governance institutions, both nationally, regionally and locally, how are these going to be strengthened to ensure effective and meaningful verification and monitoring can be carried out, systematically and consistently. Where monitoring results in an assessment of result quality, outcome and impact.

    The IIED example illustrates the existance of easy cases, where the changes required in the enabling conditions were relatively small. In part I would see REDD being complementary to sustainable forestry certification or certainly its likely the areas that have a high potential for certification are also going to have high REDD potential. These are areas that could have a stronger market mechanism element to their financing as the trustworthyness needed for the financial mechanisms to work longterm can be extablish with credibility.

    However the critical areas in terms of controlling and or halting illegal logging are those that contribute to the highest emissions and are the least favourable in terms of “becoming” REDD ready. It is in these areas that greater grant commitment will be required because human capacities will need to be improved, both for IPs, but also semi literate communities and government agencies. The forestry sector has been neglected for many years and areas critical to REDD such as forest governance, tenure security, benefit distribution and poverty alleviation, cannot be ignored any longer if its going to work where its most needed.

    It requires long term commitment to analyse and address the mistakes made in the past in terms of conflictive policies, weak forest governance, Unsustainable forest policies, disfunctional community forestry, plantation forestry and indigenous people’s stewardship systems. These mistakes have been made by agencies as well as national governments, (DFID in Cross River State, Nigeria for example) and have favoured the entrenchment of illegal, destructive forestry practices.

    It should be noted that forests have always had a greater value uncut, but not to those that cut them. Its the illegal loggers, and the traders, that value harvested forests because the demand for certain types of timber cannot be met. These are usually slow growing high quality timbers. Therefore forest degradation is selective and an effective REDD programme must be able to address this.

    Similarly reforestation skills of national agencies have focused on fast growing low quality timber which has a limited market demand. There is a mismatch in terms of seed and skills. These forests are vary rarely valued by local communities because the wood cannot be used for houses or furniture. So where REDD seeks to use reforestation to address forest degradation, this mismatch also need to be addressed.

    If REDD is to be successful in an area a prerequisite has to be a means of securing tenure rights or stewardship rights to an area for its users, either indigenous or migrant. In countries and areas where economic migration is common, REDD areas could become potential honey pots that bring in more migrants and as an unintended consequence reduce the “power” of the previous group, IP or residents. This becomes problematic when the cultural difference between the two groups is large and the “weaker” less assertive culture starts to loose out. These are long term processes observed with indigenous communities in the Philippines after logging companies came and went, bringing and leaving a stronger migrant community that grew to the detriment of the IP groups. REDD areas offer to creat similar situations that could undermine the programmes objectives, ie to stop logging and/or forest conversion.

    There needs to be great evidence based analysis in terms assessing what changes are occuring due to REDD activities, both positively and negatively. Where REDD is not mature enough, guidence can be drawn from other past forest management initiatives to inform the REDD programme.

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