Special Issue "REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Timothy Pearson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Winrock International, 2121 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, Virginia 22180, USA
Interests: ecosystem services; climate change mitigation; forests and agriculture; monitoring, reporting, and verification; REDD+

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing sequestration from forests is receiving political and societal attention, especially with the public’s focus on devastating storms, wildfires, and mounting areas of deforestation. At the same time, decreasing land-use emissions can be a highly visible means to impact net greenhouse gas numbers while benefiting lives, livelihoods, and the broader natural capital positives across supply chains, regions, and countries. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+ – with the “+” representing enhancement of stocks, conservation, and sustainable management of forests) program is a global effort for accounting and promoting payment for positive forest impacts. Over the last ten years, REDD+ has been subject to investment to build capacity and for initial piloting. Now represents a significant junction point where practitioners can step back and see the outcomes of piloting. The sector can take stock of challenges and solutions in accounting greenhouse gases from forests, in creating emission reduction strategies and safeguard systems, and achieving emission reductions in private sector supply chains and in integrating private sector contributions into national REDD+ reporting. This Special Issue welcomes studies spanning all aspects of the actual and potential successes and failures of REDD+.

Dr. Timothy Pearson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • REDD+
  • Deforestation
  • Forest degradation
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Forest
  • Supply chains
  • Natural capital
  • Carbon sequestration

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Editorial: REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods
Forests 2021, 12(4), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12040463 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 420
Abstract
REDD+ is moving beyond readiness and piloting into real implementation, where measured and verified emission reductions can result in payments to countries or subnational governments [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)

Research

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Article
Accounting for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Forest Edge Degradation: Gold Mining in Guyana as a Case Study
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1307; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121307 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 722
Abstract
Background and Methods: Degradation of forests in developing countries results from multiple activities and is perceived to be a key source of greenhouse gas emissions, yet there are not reliable methodologies to measure and monitor emissions from all degrading activities. Therefore, there is [...] Read more.
Background and Methods: Degradation of forests in developing countries results from multiple activities and is perceived to be a key source of greenhouse gas emissions, yet there are not reliable methodologies to measure and monitor emissions from all degrading activities. Therefore, there is limited knowledge of the actual extent of emissions from forest degradation. Degradation can be either in the forest interior, with a repeatable defined pattern within areas of forest, as with timber harvest, or on the forest edge and immediately bounding areas of deforestation. Forest edge degradation is especially challenging to capture with remote sensing or to predict from proxy factors. This paper addresses forest edge degradation and: (1) proposes a low cost methodology for assessing forest edge degradation surrounding deforestation; (2) using the method, provides estimates of gross carbon emissions from forest degradation surrounding and caused by alluvial mining in Guyana, and (3) compares emissions from mining degradation with other sources of forest greenhouse gas emissions. To estimate carbon emissions from forest degradation associated with mining in Guyana, 100 m buffers were located around polygons pre-mapped as mining deforestation, and within these buffers rectangular transects were established. Researchers collected ground data to produce estimates of the biomass damaged as a result of mining activities to apply to the buffer area around the mining deforestation. Results: The proposed method to estimate emissions from forest edge degradation was successfully piloted in Guyana, where 61% of the transects lost 10 Mg C ha−1 or less in trees from mining damage and 46% of these transects lost 1 Mg C ha−1 or less. Seventy percent of the damaged stems and 60% of carbon loss occurred in the first 50 m of the transects. The median loss in carbon stock from mining damage was 2.2 Mg C ha−1 (95% confidence interval: 0.0–10.2 Mg C ha−1). The carbon loss from mining degradation represented 1.0% of mean total aboveground carbon stocks, with emissions from mining degradation equivalent to ~2% of all emissions from forest change in Guyana. Conclusions: Gross carbon emissions from forest degradation around mining sites are of little significance regardless of persistence and potential forest recovery. The development of cost- and time-effective buffers around deforestation provides a sound approach to estimating carbon emissions from forest degradation adjacent to deforestation including surrounding mining. This simple approach provides a low-cost method that can be replicated anywhere to derive forest degradation estimates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Article
Combining Deforestation and Species Distribution Models to Improve Measures of Chimpanzee Conservation Impacts of REDD: A Case Study from Ntakata Mountains, Western Tanzania
Forests 2020, 11(11), 1195; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111195 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) are designed to reduce carbon emissions through avoided deforestation and degradation, and in many cases, to produce additional community and biodiversity conservation co-benefits. While these co-benefits can be significant, quantifying conservation impacts has been [...] Read more.
Projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) are designed to reduce carbon emissions through avoided deforestation and degradation, and in many cases, to produce additional community and biodiversity conservation co-benefits. While these co-benefits can be significant, quantifying conservation impacts has been challenging, and most projects use simple species presence to demonstrate positive biodiversity impact. Some of the same tools applied in the quantification of climate mitigation benefits have relevance and potential application to estimating co-benefits for biodiversity conservation. In western Tanzania, most chimpanzees live outside of national park boundaries, and thus face threats from human activity, including competition for suitable habitat. Through a case study of the Ntakata Mountains REDD project in western Tanzania, we demonstrate a combined application of deforestation modelling with species distribution models to assess forest conservation benefits in terms of avoided carbon emissions and improved chimpanzee habitat. The application of such tools is a novel approach that we argue permits the better design of future REDD projects for biodiversity co-benefits. This approach also enables project developers to produce the more manageable, accurate and cost-effective monitoring, reporting and verification of project impacts that are critical to verification under carbon standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Article
The Pluriversality of Efforts to Reduce Deforestation in Brazil over the Past Decade: An Analysis of Policy Actors’ Perceptions
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11101061 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Brazil offers a complex and unique example of tropical landscapes. The country has considerably decreased deforestation since 2004, but Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is arguably under question, both as a concept and as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas [...] Read more.
Brazil offers a complex and unique example of tropical landscapes. The country has considerably decreased deforestation since 2004, but Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is arguably under question, both as a concept and as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as deforestation levels have increased over the last five years. This article investigates how different policy actors have perceived REDD+ over time, how they have engaged in REDD+ efforts over the past decade, and how REDD+ implementation in Brazil should move forward accordingly. We analyzed qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and actors’ “stances”, i.e., their positions—with regards to key issues connected to REDD+ governance and its challenges—over three different time periods (Phase 1: 2010–2011, Phase 2: 2015–2016, and Phase 3: 2019), so as to identify the practical implications of these diverse interpretations. We argue that the way actors perceive REDD+ is intimately related to the way they interpret and assign meanings towards it and, in consequence, the way they coordinate REDD+-related practices and efforts. We focus on the link between perceptions and efforts so as to comprehend the relevance that different interpretations have to both the concept and implementation of REDD+ in Brazil. Our analysis concentrates on the potential to improve the coordination and integration of REDD+ implementation and diverse actors’ efforts with regards to REDD+ activities. Results suggest that actors’ perceptions of REDD+ generated a plurality of meanings, highlighting a range of dialectical and ontological interactions that have, in turn, resulted in multiple REDD+ interpretations. Findings highlight that different actors have the same interests when it comes to their organizational efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, suggesting that there is room for a better coordination of efforts towards this end, as well as increased collaboration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
Article
Challenges of Sharing REDD+ Benefits in the Amazon Region
Forests 2020, 11(9), 1012; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11091012 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 713
Abstract
The success of jurisdictional reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) initiatives is entirely dependent on how the REDD+ benefits are distributed among the stakeholders seeking to preserve the native vegetation and is considered one of the main challenges of REDD+. Among [...] Read more.
The success of jurisdictional reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) initiatives is entirely dependent on how the REDD+ benefits are distributed among the stakeholders seeking to preserve the native vegetation and is considered one of the main challenges of REDD+. Among the existing benefit-sharing options, the adoption of the stock-and-flow approach to share REDD+ benefits has afforded fair jurisdictional systems in the states of Acre and Mato Grosso in the Brazilian Amazon. This innovative perspective is also the dividing line between inequitable and socially balanced jurisdictional REDD+ initiatives. However, these jurisdictions present challenges to fully implementing a robust benefit-sharing mechanism including the stock-and-flow approach and guaranteeing that resources will be accessible to the relevant beneficiaries. To better understand these challenges, we applied the Options Assessment Framework (OAF), a methodology proposed by the World Bank to evaluate the capacity to implement an effective benefit-sharing mechanism for REDD+, in Acre and Mato Grosso. The results indicated that these jurisdictions need to strengthen their conditions to guarantee the multi-faceted functionality of this mechanism and determine what aspects need more attention and where resources should be invested. Additionally, the results indicated that an equitable benefit-sharing mechanism is, by far, the main challenge faced by jurisdictions. Despite being a more evolved state in its REDD+ policies, Acre still needs to improve its institutional capacities, particularly in its local civil society organizations, to help communities access these benefits. The state of Mato Grosso, on the other hand, is still engaging in its REDD+ initiative and needs its institutional capacities to further mature to better organize its monitoring mechanisms and governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Article
Mixed Effectiveness of REDD+ Subnational Initiatives after 10 Years of Interventions on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Forests 2020, 11(9), 1005; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11091005 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 911
Abstract
Since 2010, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism has been implemented in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a biodiversity hotspot with persistent deforestation problems. We apply the before-after-control-intervention approach and quasi-experimental methods to evaluate the effectiveness of REDD+ interventions in reducing deforestation [...] Read more.
Since 2010, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism has been implemented in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a biodiversity hotspot with persistent deforestation problems. We apply the before-after-control-intervention approach and quasi-experimental methods to evaluate the effectiveness of REDD+ interventions in reducing deforestation at municipal (meso) and community (micro) scales. Difference-in-differences regression and propensity score matching did not show an overall reduction in forest cover loss from REDD+ projects at both scales. However, Synthetic Control Method (SCM) analyses demonstrated mixed REDD+ effectiveness among intervened municipalities and communities. Funding agencies and number of REDD+ projects intervening in a municipality or community did not appear to affect REDD+ outcomes. However, cattle production and commercial agriculture land uses tended to impede REDD+ effectiveness. Cases of communities with important forestry enterprises exemplified reduced forest cover loss but not when cattle production was present. Communities and municipalities with negative REDD+ outcomes were notable along the southern region bordering Guatemala and Belize, a remote forest frontier fraught with illegal activities and socio-environmental conflicts. We hypothesize that strengthening community governance and organizational capacity results in REDD+ effectiveness. The observed successes and problems in intervened communities deserve closer examination for REDD+ future planning and development of strategies on the Yucatan Peninsula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Article
Who Owns REDD+? Carbon Markets, Carbon Rights and Entitlements to REDD+ Finance
Forests 2020, 11(9), 959; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090959 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1155
Abstract
The question of who is entitled to benefit from transactions under the United Nations framework to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) remains one of the most controversial issues surrounding cooperative efforts to reduce deforestation in developing countries. REDD+ has been [...] Read more.
The question of who is entitled to benefit from transactions under the United Nations framework to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) remains one of the most controversial issues surrounding cooperative efforts to reduce deforestation in developing countries. REDD+ has been conceived as an international framework to encourage voluntary efforts in developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon removals from forest activities. It was designed as an international framework under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to enable the generation of emission reductions and removals (ERRs) at the national—and, provisionally, the subnational—level and is, thus, primarily a creature of international law. However, in defining forest carbon ERRs, the international framework competes with national emission trading systems and domestic REDD+ legislation as well as private standards that define units traded on the voluntary carbon market. As results-based and carbon market systems emerge, the question remains: Who can claim participation in REDD+ and voluntary carbon market projects? The existence of different international, national and private standards that value ERRs poses a challenge to countries that participate in REDD+ as well as to communities and private actors participating in voluntary carbon market projects. This paper seeks to clarify the nature and limitation of rights pertaining to REDD+ market transactions. It also links the notion of carbon rights to both carbon markets and government’s decision on benefit sharing. Applying a legal lens, this paper helps to understand the various claims and underlying rights to participate in REDD+ transactions and addresses ambiguities that can lead to conflict around REDD+ implementation. The definition of carbon rights and the legal nature of carbon credits depend on local law and differ between countries. However, by categorizing carbon rights, the paper summarizes several legal considerations that are relevant for regulating REDD+ and sharing the financial benefits of transacting ERRs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
Article
Costs and Carbon Sequestration Assessment for REDD+ in Indonesia
Forests 2020, 11(7), 770; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11070770 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 856
Abstract
Research Highlights: Our findings highlight that the contribution of carbon sequestration from plantations to REDD+ will remain limited, and that opportunity costs in Southeast Asia will likely increase, due to future oil palm expansion. Background and Objectives: Land use, land-use change, and forestry [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Our findings highlight that the contribution of carbon sequestration from plantations to REDD+ will remain limited, and that opportunity costs in Southeast Asia will likely increase, due to future oil palm expansion. Background and Objectives: Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) are significant sources of carbon emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus program, also known as REDD+, could contribute to carbon sinks in tropical regions. These reductions could serve as carbon credits that offset emissions from other sources. Materials and Methods: This study uses the cellular automaton technique to simulate the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario and the gain-loss method, to measure carbon emissions resulting from forest conversion. The output of the integration of the models makes it possible to evaluate one of the most important financial costs: opportunity costs. Two scenarios (with and without consideration of carbon sequestration) in rubber and oil palm plantations are examined. Results: A sensitivity assessment in Kalimantan, Indonesia, shows that carbon sequestration from plantations affects value of opportunity costs less than social discount rates. Further analysis suggests that oil palm plantations have a greater impact than rubber plantations. Conclusions: Our study provides a case that can be applied to other regions for evaluating the impacts of plantation carbon sequestration, and insights that can help local policymakers design a financially attractive REDD+ program in other forest areas of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Article
Policy Responses to Direct and Underlying Drivers of Deforestation: Examining Rubber and Coffee in the Central Highlands of Vietnam
Forests 2020, 11(7), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11070733 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1104
Abstract
Viet Nam’s Central Highlands are a priority region for its National REDD+ Action Plan (NRAP) to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation but are under strong pressures from rubber and coffee production and expansion into forests, and future climate stress. This research [...] Read more.
Viet Nam’s Central Highlands are a priority region for its National REDD+ Action Plan (NRAP) to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation but are under strong pressures from rubber and coffee production and expansion into forests, and future climate stress. This research explores to what extent REDD+ and sectoral policy interventions have addressed both the direct and underlying drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in this region, with particular focus on the actors and scales that policy interventions must reach to affect driver pressure. National-level policy responses to driver pressures are assessed, with the results indicating poor correlations between the direct drivers and related underlying drivers. The research proposes a framework to guide the policy design and evaluation of response options to enable identification of the causal connections between direct and underlying drivers, and consider future pressures, which actors to target (or not miss) and which scales are best suited for interventions (from international to national, sub-national and local). This is highly relevant for countries pursuing forest and land use sector solutions through Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement and REDD+. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Review

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Review
Results Based Payments for REDD+ under the Green Climate Fund: Lessons Learned on Social, Environmental and Governance Safeguards
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1350; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121350 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 730
Abstract
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Decisions for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) recognize its role in poverty alleviation, enhancing social and environmental resilience and ensuring linkages between mitigation and adaptation. Similarly, the UNFCCC recognizes [...] Read more.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Decisions for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) recognize its role in poverty alleviation, enhancing social and environmental resilience and ensuring linkages between mitigation and adaptation. Similarly, the UNFCCC recognizes the diversity of potential environmental and social risks and benefits that could result from REDD+ implementation. As a result, the UNFCCC adopted a set of social, environmental and governance safeguards, commonly known as “Cancun Safeguards.” Cancun Safeguards should be addressed and respected throughout REDD+ implementation regardless of the source and type of funding and play a key role in accessing results-based finance. The UNFCCC provides guidance regarding an information system as well as up-to-date reports as information and reporting tools on how all Cancun Safeguards have been addressed and respected. However, the UNFCCC does not offer any guidance on how to consider, assess and/or verify reported information. Given the key role that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) plays in channeling REDD+ results-based finance, this research paper examines early lessons from the GCF’s pilot programme for REDD-plus results-based payments (RBPs). It assesses the extent to which REDD+ activities have been implemented in consistency with the Cancun Safeguards. This paper examines the assessment and verification procedures of the GCF’s pilot programme. Key informant interviews have been a key source of information. We conclude that assessing the extent to which REDD+ results-based activities have in fact been consistent with Cancun Safeguards is a complex endeavor. Such complexity requires a qualitative approach as well as a dedicated verification procedure. This in turn has not been fully captured in the GCF’s pilot programme. Additionally, we conclude that by requiring countries to demonstrate conformance with its interim safeguards in the context of REDD+ results-based finance, the GCF’s pilot programme poses a significant burden to countries’ abilities to access results-based financing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)

Other

Perspective
The Importance of High–Quality Data for REDD+ Monitoring and Reporting
Forests 2021, 12(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010099 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1681
Abstract
This article discusses the importance of quality deforestation area estimates for reliable and credible REDD+ monitoring and reporting. It discusses how countries can make use of global spatial tree cover change assessments, but how considerable additional efforts are required to translate these into [...] Read more.
This article discusses the importance of quality deforestation area estimates for reliable and credible REDD+ monitoring and reporting. It discusses how countries can make use of global spatial tree cover change assessments, but how considerable additional efforts are required to translate these into national deforestation estimates. The article illustrates the relevance of countries’ continued efforts on improving data quality for REDD+ monitoring by looking at Mexico, Cambodia, and Ghana. The experience in these countries show differences between deforestation areas assessed directly from maps and improved sample-based deforestation area estimates, highlighting significant changes in both magnitude and trend of assessed deforestation from both methods. Forests play an important role in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, and therefore the ability of countries to accurately measure greenhouse gases from forests is critical. Continued efforts by countries are needed to produce credible and reliable data. Supporting countries to continually increase the quality of deforestation area estimates will also support more efficient allocation of finance that rewards REDD+ results-based payments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Commentary
Comparing the Environmental Integrity of Emission Reductions from REDD Programs with Renewable Energy Projects
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121360 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
Reducing deforestation and forest degradation presents a climate-change mitigation opportunity that is critical to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, and to achieving reductions in the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) provides developing countries with [...] Read more.
Reducing deforestation and forest degradation presents a climate-change mitigation opportunity that is critical to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, and to achieving reductions in the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) provides developing countries with results-based financial incentives for reducing deforestation and forest degradation through either non-market payments (payments without generation of carbon credits), or market-based mechanisms (carbon credits). REDD credits have been recently accepted to be used in offsetting programs (e.g., CORSIA) and are being considered under Article 6. However, various publications have questioned whether carbon credits from REDD should be accepted under market-based mechanisms, and have identified issues regarding their environmental integrity and their ability to offset emissions from other sectors. In recent years, REDD implementation has moved from the project level to the national or subnational (jurisdictional) level, and is addressing some of the concerns that have been raised for project-level interventions regarding the robustness of baselines and leakage, for example. In this paper we compare the environmental integrity of credits from REDD programs with that from on-grid renewable energy projects by examining aspects related to permanence, additionality, baselines, uncertainty, and leakage. We show that the environmental integrity of emission reductions sourced from REDD programs has unique strengths, and that those sourced from renewable energy projects have weaknesses of their own. Probably due to a lack of understanding of the respective weaknesses and strengths of these two sources of credits, the emission reductions from REDD programs have been historically questioned and subjected to a level of scrutiny that has not been made with emission reductions from other sectors, such as renewable energy projects. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of emission reductions from both types should help decision makers and carbon standards recognize the high quality of emission reductions from REDD programs, and rationalize the current requirements or restrictions imposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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Perspective
Comprehensive Accounting for REDD+ Programs: A Pragmatic Approach as Exemplified in Guyana
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1265; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121265 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 625
Abstract
Completeness is an important element for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) accounting to ensure transparency and accountability. However, including a full accounting for all emission sources in a REDD+ program is often resource-intensive and cost-prohibitive, especially considering that some emission [...] Read more.
Completeness is an important element for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) accounting to ensure transparency and accountability. However, including a full accounting for all emission sources in a REDD+ program is often resource-intensive and cost-prohibitive, especially considering that some emission sources comprise far less than 10% of total emissions and are thus considered insignificant according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidance. This is evident in forest reference emission level (FREL)/forest reference level (FRL) submissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Of the 50 countries that have submitted FRELs to date, only half of them include degradation in their FRELs even though degradation is often a significant source of emissions. Half of the countries that do include degradation use satellite imagery without necessarily specifying degrading activities or separating anthropogenic activities. Guyana provides an example of an approach that enables inclusion of all emission sources while considering the significance of each when developing an accounting approach. Since submitting its FREL in 2014, Guyana has made stepwise improvements to its emission estimates so that the country is now able to report on all deforestation and degradation activities resulting in emissions, whether significant or not. Based on the example of Guyana’s efforts, the authors recommend a simple approach to move towards complete accounting in a cost-effective manner. This approach can be scaled to other countries with other activities that results in greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Such complete accounting allows for higher accountability in REDD+ systems and can lead to greater effectiveness in reducing emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)
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