May 31, 2011
Implementation costs of REDD are higher in Tanzania than commonly acknowledged.
The research, led by Brendan Fisher of Princeton University, looked at deforestation in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. It found that current economic assessments tend to undervalue the cost of meeting expected food and fuel demand by local farmers, who would be expected to curtail forest conversion under the country's REDD program. Failing to meet the needs of local farmers, could either increase poverty or displace forest conversion to forests outside the reach of REDD programs, an issue known as "leakage".
In Tanzania, the researchers estimate the cost of implementing such programs at $6.50 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions avoided (tCO2), well above the $3.90/tCO2 cost of merely compensating for the profits forgone by stopping deforestation.
The authors' conclusions are consistent with other work that has shown implementation and transaction costs can be considerable relative to the opportunity costs of REDD projects, especially those involving small farmers. Opportunity costs are comparatively higher for industrial-scale activities like logging, soy farms, oil palm estates, and rubber and wood-pulp plantations, since these generating more profit per unit of area.
CITATION: Brendan Fisher, Simon L. Lewis, Neil D. Burgess, Rogers E. Malimbwi, Panteleo K. Munishi, Ruth D. Swetnam, R. Kerry Turner, Simon Willcock & Andrew Balmford (2011). Implementation and opportunity costs of reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Tanzania. Nature Climate Change (2011) doi:10.1038/nclimate1119 Published online 29 May 2011
The Cost of REDD
(05/14/2011) Presentation by Rhett A. Butler at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in April 2011 on the Costs of REDD+.
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Study calls for REDD+ money to boost yields in West Africa using agrochemicals
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