Farm of Pablo Granda, who produces cacao in San Martín, Peru– Photo by Marlon del Aguila Guerrero/CIFOR
New book analyzes the reality of REDD+
Hailed as a quick, easy and cheap way to mitigate climate change by providing incentives to conserve tropical forests, REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing forest carbon stocks) emerged on the global scene 10 years ago as a beacon of hope, mobilizing huge commitment and resources worldwide.
Now people are asking, is it paying off?
A new book, Transforming REDD+: Lessons and new directions, takes a timely and critical look at that question, examining evidence on REDD+ financing, national politics, impact assessment, the role of the private sector, and how countries can integrate REDD+ into their commitments under the Paris Agreement, among other topics.
The authors of the book found that, while there are few evaluations of the impact of local REDD+ initiatives on forests, the results of these are moderately encouraging. REDD+ has improved countries’ monitoring capacities and understanding of drivers, increased stakeholder involvement, and provided a platform to secure indigenous and community land rights – all key conditions for addressing deforestation and forest degradation. In terms of how REDD+ affects rural peoples’ well-being, evidence is mixed but the effects are more likely to be positive when incentives are included, rather than just a ban on cutting trees. Studies on biodiversity and adaptation outcomes are scarce.
The authors ask, why such modest results for such a compelling idea? The book lays out many answers, some expected and some surprising. For one, REDD+ has not been tested as envisioned – as a system to create incentives to conserve forest carbon through results-based payment. Carbon markets didn’t materialize as planned, and international funding has been low; compounding this are a lack of support and coordination at the national level, and unresolved land tenure issues that prevent people from gaining the full benefits from trees and forests in some countries.
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID); CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (CRP-FTA) with financial support from the contributors to the CGIAR Trust Fund (www.cgiar.org/funders/); David and Lucile Packard Foundation; European Commission (EC); Government of Finland; International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); Mott Foundation; Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad); the Department for International Development (UKAID); and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Yet REDD+ has also evolved in unexpected
ways, many of which show promise in supporting its broader goals. These include
private sector sustainability commitments, climate-smart agriculture, forest
and landscape restoration, and more holistic jurisdictional approaches that
work across legally defined territories.
draws on evidence from CIFOR’s Global
Comparative Study on REDD+ and other research into REDD+ initiatives across the tropics. It was
launched at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, along with a discussion forum titled “10 years of the Global Comparative
Study on REDD+: What we’ve learned and where we go next?” The short,
stand-alone chapters, which include summary
infographics and case stories, can be downloaded from the CIFOR library.