With the dusk of the International Year of Forests fast approaching, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, sustainable forest management, conservation and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) has the potential to bring positive changes to the lives of people who are dependent on forests for their livelihoods. But this can only happen if REDD+ is implemented in a way that ensures their participation in the process.
As policymakers prepare to discuss REDD+ at UN climate talks in Durban, they should heed the lessons learned from years of experience in participatory forest management across the developing world.
Take a look at these two photographs and play spot the difference.
It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai aged 71. She has been a great champion of why environment matters for people across the planet, and especially for women and poor groups in Africa. Like a tall spreading tree, perhaps an Acacia, her influence and courage have provided nourishment and shelter for a wide range of activities in Kenya and beyond.
Land is cheap and is perceived to be abundant in Africa. A scramble for its land, following the food and fuel crisis three years ago, is on. European and North American companies have been acquiring land to grow export and biofuel crops and to supply their need for pulp and paper. Now they’re being joined by newly emerging economies – in particular Brazil, India and China – which are also increasingly acquiring large tracts of land and searching for other natural resources, in particular water and minerals.
Assessing projects to reduce deforestation and forest degradation is not just about measuring how much carbon they have sequestered or enhanced. It is equally about asking what such projects have done to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.
A new IIED briefing paper asks some hard questions about biomass investments and warns that rising demand for renewable energy sources could drive land grabs.
When it comes to forest governance — who gets to decide what about forests — REDD is a pleasant dream for some, a nightmare for others. I think it is depends on how you see the money and the leverage.
Four years ago a peaceful street demonstration in Uganda against a government plan to allow the clearance of an area of important rainforest went badly wrong, leaving at least three people dead and several wounded.
Commercial forest rights that create incentives for Malawians to plant trees on farm for food and fuel are essential for REDD+ and climate change adaptation.