What REDD+ looks like on the ground: evidence from the Amazon and beyond
Moderator: Niels Elers Koch, IUFRO President
Thursday, 13 June 2013, 08:00 – 10:00 (Santa Rosa 2)
Agricultural expansion has been identified as a key driver of deforestation in developing countries. The IPCC estimated that carbon dioxide emissions, as a consequence of deforestation, amounted to 20% of all anthropogenically induced carbon dioxide emissions in the 1990s. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+), has been proclaimed an environmental policy instrument that could potentially provide mitigative benefits for net carbon emissions and biodiversity degradation.
In the session entitled “What REDD+ looks like on the ground: evidence from the Amazon and beyond”, leading scientists addressed the relationship between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people, as well as experiences with the operationalization of REDD+ in Latin America.
The Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP), which is coordinated by IUFRO, presented a global assessment report on REDD+, which consolidates the research of more than 50 leading scientists. The report constitutes a comprehensive analysis of the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity, forest management and REDD+.
The assessment report proposes that biodiversity is paramount, as a prerequisite for providing ecosystem services. In the face of disturbance regimes such as climate change, ecosystem resilience, a product of biodiversity, ensures ecosystem service provision.
Moreover, a successful REDD+ implementation, that achieves mitigative net carbon emissions and ensures biodiversity provision, requires, in conjuncture with the implementation, the pursuit of social objectives by securing tenure rights and local engagement. Only when tenure and property rights are clearly defined can a REDD+ implementation be effective.
The session also included presentations on a global comparative study entitled “What REDD+ looks like on the ground: Carried out by CIFOR”. The study, which is t largest project ever undertaken by CIFOR, aims to provide scientific insights on how to ensure that REDD+ measures meet the three “E’s”; Effectiveness, Efficiency, Equity. As the first phase of the study has been completed, the findings of four cases were presented during the session. For more detailed information please visit the CIFOR webpage.
The Global Forest Expert Panel report can be downloaded at www.iufro.org/science/gfep
Presentations in this session:
Understanding relationships between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people: the key to achieving REDD+ objectives (John Parrotta, US Forest Service, USA)
What REDD+ looks like on the ground (Amy Duchelle)
Smallholder typology at a REDD+ project site in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon. (Marina Cromberg, CIFOR, Brazil)
Analyzing payments for environmental services as a way to improve social, economic and environmental resilience in rural settlements in northwestern Mato, Grosso, Brazil. (Raissa Guerra, University of Florida, Brazil)
Conservation transfers, livelihoods and land use: the case of Bolsa Floresta, Amazonas, Brazil (Amy Duchelle and Kim Bakkegaard)
Livelihoods, land use, land cover change and the implications for REDD+ in Brazil nut concessions in the Peruvian Amazon. (Valerie Garrish, CIFOR)
Forests, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: Charting a new research agenda
By Peter Dewees, Forest Advisor, World Bank
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment defines ecosystem services as the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. And ecosystem themselves are, speaking in economic terms, an asset, while their services would represent the flow of benefits. So paying for ecosystem services, once the benefits have been valued, has become a topic of interest especially with governments.
Ecosystem services are closely related to poverty alleviation, but it might be just a conventional wisdom to think that the deterioration of ecosystem services automatically leads to an aggravation of poverty. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that human wellbeing has been increasing while the environment and ecosystem services are declining. The Human Development Index illustrates this situation. So what are the underlying causes for this disconnect?
It might be that we are measuring the wrong things and disregard important factors, e.g. the time lag between the decline of ecosystems and the impact.
With regard to forests, global forest cover is declining and forest degradation is increasing for many reasons, yet in some rural landscapes tree numbers are growing. For the farmers, trees are important in many ways. In countries like Kenya, for example, they serve as field boundaries. Trees on farms can increase productivity and thus increase household incomes, they also help build resilience due to diversification of species. Trees on farms can build soil carbon.
So, incorporating trees in land management strategies is an important contribution to climate change mitigation. Consequently, what is really needed is to put in place policies to create incentives for better landscape management. Policies need to be informed by good data, and this is where research comes into the picture and the focus should be on fully recognizing the complexity of landscapes.
The data required should fulfil a set of criteria, of course. They need to be representative, suited for being aggregated, up-to-date, policy relevant and address the right questions.
In conclusion, Dewees particularly points out two research areas that should feature more prominently and deliver good data:
a) The role of household environment income with respect to productivity and consumption; risk and vulnerability; and equality;
b) Policy and public finance with regard to how to support farmer based adaptation and how to identify other points of entry such as social safety nets.
Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives
Forests harbour a major proportion of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and provide a wide range of vitally important ecosystem services – including carbon sequestration and storage. Deforestation and forest degradation continue to erode biodiversity and the capacity of forest ecosystems to help mitigate climate change and provide the goods and services that sustain livelihoods and human well-being locally, and globally. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a proposed mechanism which has the potential to realise its primary objective – climate change mitigation – with variable impacts, positive and negative, on biodiversity, forests and people. REDD+ is complex, its proposed activities and implementation mechanisms not yet clearly defined, and therefore surrounded by uncertainty. Because of its high relevance to climate change mitigation, the conservation and sustainable use of forests and their biological diversity, the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+ was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests in December 2011 to carry out this assessment.
The Expert Panel included 24 scientists and other experts from a variety of biophysical and social science disciplines relevant to the topics covered in this assessment report. An additional 18 contributing authors added their expertise to the assessment. Each chapter was prepared by a team of Lead Authors and Contributing Authors led by one or more Coordinating Lead Authors. A full draft of the report and its individual chapters was peer-reviewed prior to its completion. The results of this voluntary collaboration between January and October 2012 are presented in the six inter-related chapters comprising this book.
This assessment report evaluates the implications of forest and land management interventions envisaged under REDD+ in a multidimensional and integrated fashion. It summarises the most current scientific literature that sheds light on the relationships between forest biodiversity and carbon (and other ecosystem services), how these complex relationships may be affected by management activities implemented to achieve REDD+ objectives, the potential synergies and tradeoffs between and among environmental and socio-economic objectives, and their relationship to governance issues. Based on the main findings of the assessment (summarised in Chapter 6), a policy brief entitled ‘REDD+, Biodiversity and People: Opportunities and Risks’ has been prepared especially for policy- and decision-makers.
The full report is formally presented at Forest Day 6 on 2 December during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Doha, Qatar (26 November-7 December, 2012).
The report, the policy brief and a press release – New Study Suggests Global Pacts Like REDD Ignore Primary Causes of Destruction of Forests – are available for download.
Report and Policy Brief: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/biodiv-forman-redd-panel/report/
For more information about the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+, please visit: