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Reducing the risk that REDD+ will shift conservation funding away from biodiverse forests

One of the major concerns about the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degrdatation (REDD+) program is that it could prioritize conservation of high carbon ecosystems like peatlands over high biodiversity landscapes, effectively shifting conservation funding away key wildlife-rich areas. A new paper, published in Tropical Conservation Science, analyzes the issue and suggests approaches that could reduce the potential detrimental impacts of REDD+ on biodiversity.

Mark Harrison of the University of Leicester and Gary Paoli of Daemeter Consulting suggest three strategies for reducing “biodiversity threat leakage” under REDD, including “focusing non-REDD+ conservation funding and efforts on the most vulnerable high-biodiversity forests not scheduled for protection under REDD+”; reducing the costs of establishing REDD+ projects in low-carbon, high-biodiversity forests; and “developing more creative measures, especially fiscal and financial incentives, for protecting vulnerable low-carbon forests”.

“Inter-disciplinary research is urgently needed to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of these strategies to successfully manage biodiversity leakage risk from pursuing REDD+ in high-carbon forests and, thus, for ensuring REDD+ achieves its potential for generating biodiversity conservation gains,” they conclude.

CITATION: Harrison, M. E. and Paoli, G. D. 2012. Managing the risk of biodiversity leakage from prioritizing REDD+ in the most carbon-rich forests: the case study of peat-swamp forests in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 5(4):426-433

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