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REDD+ could turn deforesters into forest protectors


  • REDD+ could create incentives for forest conservation
  • But policy reform needed
  • Policymakers need to consider broader drivers of deforestation

    Payments for conservation and sustainable management of forests could turn agents of forest destruction into forest protectors, according to a comprehensive analysis of national policy options to reduce deforestation released in Copenhagen by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

    While cautioning that past efforts to reduce forest loss have failed more often than they have succeeded, the 400-page Realising REDD+: National strategy and policy options says that payments for forest protection could “finally provide the all-important political will for meaningful action in developing countries.”

    Draining and clearing of peat forest in Central Kalimantan (May 2009). Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

    “Payments for environmental services (PES) schemes have many advantages—the incentives for forest users are strong. Those responsible for cutting emissions are compensated directly. But there are many opportunities to make rapid progress with the REDD+ agenda that don’t depend on the long-term reforms required for PES programmes,” Arild Angelsen, a CIFOR scientist who was the main editor of Realising REDD+, said in a statement. “Most of what will be undertaken at the national and local levels has in fact been attempted before. We can learn a lot by looking at what has worked and, equally important, what has not.”

    The report urges policymakers to look beyond the forestry sector to address broad causes of deforestation, including agriculture and energy use. It notes that important reforms — including clarification of land ownership, monitoring of carbon stocks, and establishing systems for fair distribution of payments — will be necessary to ensure REDD+’s success.

    “Designed appropriately, REDD+ has the potential to catalyze needed reforms, while protecting vulnerable communities,” said Frances Seymour, CIFOR’s director general, in a statement. In a world facing catastrophic climate change, the risk of doing nothing is too great.”

    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.

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