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Research Report

Realising REDD+: National strategy and policy options

Edited by Arild Angelsen
Maria Brockhaus
Markku Kanninen
Erin Sills
William D. Sunderlin
Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff
Editorial assistant Therese Dokken
Managing editor Edith A. Johnson
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2009
Pages: 390
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-10)
    Arild Angelsen

    Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) can, according to proponents, generate large, cheap and quick reductions in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The international community can achieve this by paying forest owners and users – either through national governments or directly – to fell fewer trees and manage their forests better. Farmers, companies and forest owners can simply sell forest carbon credits and less cattle, coffee, cocoa or charcoal.

    This apparently brilliant idea now faces realities on the ground. The ownership of forests is often unclear or contested. Governance is...

  2. Part 1. Moving REDD+ from global to national level

    • (pp. 13-24)
      Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff and Arild Angelsen

      The global REDD+ architecture will influence the design and implementation of national REDD+ schemes. However, the nature of the global architecture is not yet clear and will probably evolve quickly over the next few years. To deal with uncertainties, countries should adopt flexible mechanisms and can implement REDD+ schemes in stages.

      Realising REDD+ within countries means paying attention to three key elements: incentives, information and institutions (the 3Is). Incentives consist of performance-based payments and changes in policies. Countries need to provide reliable information on realised changes in forest carbon stocks to qualify for funds from international sources. Effective institutions are...

    • (pp. 25-44)
      Leo Peskett and Maria Brockhaus

      The development of national REDD+ strategies has progressed. Common challenges include establishing appropriate national institutions that link into ongoing processes; ensuring high level government commitment; achieving strong coordination within governments and between state and non-state actors; designing mechanisms to ensure participation and benefit sharing; and establishing monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems.

      The different agendas of actors involved in policy formulation at the national level reflect those at the international level. Conflicting interests could make it difficult to overcome the key challenges and hamper coordination, which could reduce efficiency in formulating and implementing REDD+ actions.

      Issues such as participation, land...

    • (pp. 45-54)
      William D. Sunderlin and Stibniati Atmadja

      Previous international and national policies have, for various reasons, failed to prevent deforestation in developing countries.

      REDD+ incorporates some of these past policies, but also some innovations.

      Lessons from past experience will need to be taken on board and new alliances will need to be forged if REDD+ is to be successful.

      REDD+ has generated interest as a ground-breaking concept for saving tropical forests. Those in favour believe that REDD+ funds will be an incentive to keep forests standing and, in the latest permutation, REDD+, will also be an incentive to restore and perhaps even establish new forests. For those...

  3. Part 2. Building REDD+ institutional architecture and processes

    • (pp. 57-74)
      Arild Vatn and Arild Angelsen

      Key criteria for assessing different institutional options are their overall legitimacy and ability to produce 3E+ outcomes.

      Four major options for channelling (international) REDD+ finance are projects, funds – independent or within the state administration – and budget support. The mix of these depends crucially on national conditions and the choice of REDD+ actions.

      Building national REDD+ institutions takes time, and early design might constrain later options. Countries must therefore ensure that the immediate steps taken fit future and more developed solutions.

      Realising REDD+ presupposes a national architecture or governance structure that facilitates comprehensive actions and delivers carbon mitigation outcomes...

    • (pp. 75-84)
      Barry Spergel and Michael Wells

      REDD+ funds modelled after conservation trust funds (CTFs) can provide stable long-term funding with high credibility for financing major REDD+ activities.

      CTFs can function as administrators of REDD+ funds, as managers of PES, or as carbon brokers.

      Existing CTFs have high-level political support even though they are independent of government; using them to distribute international REDD+ funding could therefore mitigate concerns about loss of sovereignty while also reassuring funders and buyers of REDD+ credits.

      More than 50 conservation trust funds (CTFs, also referred to as ‘environmental funds’) have been established in developing countries during the last 20 years. In general,...

    • (pp. 85-100)
      Martin Herold and Margaret M. Skutsch

      Participation in REDD+ requires much more emphasis on measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) than has been the case in most national forest monitoring to date.

      Roadmaps to build and sustain capacity for measuring, reporting and verifying national REDD+ implementation according to national and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) requirements and principles must be effective, efficient ansd equitable.

      Without clear links between REDD+ MRV and policy from the outset, REDD+ compensation schemes that are based on results will be ineffective.

      A cornerstone of any national REDD+ scheme is a reliable, credible system of measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) changes in...

    • (pp. 101-112)
      Margaret M. Skutsch, Patrick E. van Laake, Eliakimu M. Zahabu, Bhaskar S. Karky and Pushkin Phartiyal

      Communities in forest areas can be trained to map and inventory forests although they may need technical support for some tasks.

      The cost of community carbon monitoring is likely to be much less than for professional surveys and accuracy is relatively good. The degree of precision depends on the size of the sample. There is a tradeoff between the cost of increasing the sample size and the amount of carbon that communities could claim.

      Entrusting forest inventory work to communities could have other advantages for national REDD+ programmes, such as transparency and recognition of the value of community forest management...

    • (pp. 113-122)
      Tim Forsyth

      Governance is the act or manner of governing. Multilevel, multiactor, participatory governance allows stakeholders to negotiate, formulate and implement policy.

      Multilevel, multiactor governance of REDD+ schemes will be needed to overcome differences between government ministries, and to build the trust of investors and local citizens.

      Creating new forms of governance that allow stakeholders with different degrees of political influence and different interests to come together could be time consuming but will allow REDD+ to achieve the 3Es+.

      Governance is the act or manner of governing. Inclusive and transparent governance allows stakeholders to participate in formulating and implementing policy. Multilevel governance...

  4. Part 3. Enabling REDD+ through broad policy reforms

    • (pp. 125-138)
      Arild Angelsen

      Four types of policies could reduce deforestation: policies to depress agricultural rent, policies to increase and capture forest rent, policies that directly regulate land use, and cross-sector policies that underpin the first three.

      While payments for environmental services (PES) have clear advantages, in the early stages of REDD+ implementation, broader policies which address underlying causes are more feasible and likely to be more successful.

      REDD+ is a new direction in forest conservation. This means that countries need to take into account research on deforestation, and lessons learned from previous forest conservation policies, when developing national REDD+ strategies.

      A key feature...

    • (pp. 139-150)
      William D. Sunderlin, Anne M. Larson and Peter Cronkleton

      In many developing countries, tenure in forests is not clear and subject to dispute. This will place limits on the effectiveness, efficiency and equity (3Es) of REDD+.

      In spite of the attention paid to the problem of insecure tenure to date, there has been little progress toward clarifying tenure arrangements.

      National governments need to take proactive steps to clarify tenure.

      Insecure forest tenure has long been associated with deforestation and degradation (Southgate and Runge 1990; Brown and Pearce 1994; Kaimowitz and Angelsen 1998). But secure tenure may also lead to more forest conversion, unless there are changes in other incentive...

    • (pp. 151-162)
      Charlotte Streck

      The clarification of forest tenure is essential for the sustainable success of REDD+. Successful tenure reform should be supported by a participative process and build on customary tenure systems. Tenure reform, however, is a long-term process that has to be implemented in parallel with other REDD+ policies.

      The allocation of carbon rights is a precondition for subnational carbon crediting. The allocation can in most cases be deducted from existing legal principles. The clarification of carbon rights is not a condition for REDD+ policies that are not associated with entity-level carbon crediting and trading.

      The discussion about sharing international benefits must...

    • (pp. 163-174)
      Luca Tacconi, Fiona Downs and Peter Larmour

      The design of anti-corruption policies should take into account whether a country has bad, fair or good governance conditions.

      Anti-corruption policies limited to the forest sector are unlikely to work in countries with high corruption levels, which require systemic institutional changes.

      REDD+ is likely to be affected by corruption, but REDD+ monitoring, verification and reporting mechanisms can also contribute to reducing corruption.

      Corruption is widespread in most countries that are expected to become eligible for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) schemes. There are, therefore, concerns that unless corruption is controlled, it would be difficult for countries to implement...

    • (pp. 175-188)
      Anne M. Larson and Jesse C. Ribot

      REDD+ is more likely to be just and locally legitimate if the design, implementation and allocation of benefits represent local needs and aspirations.

      Decentralisation of meaningful decisions to locally accountable and responsive (e.g., representative) local authorities would promote local engagement in REDD+ decision making.

      The level at which rules are made and benefits distributed will be a key issue in the legitimacy, effectiveness, efficiency and equity of REDD+.

      Decentralised decision making is critical for three aspects of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) schemes:

      1. overall design process,

      2. protection of local people from exploitation and abuse, and

      3. decision making...

  5. Part 4. Doing REDD+ by changing incentives

    • (pp. 191-200)
      Tom Rudel

      A reduced emissions agricultural policy (REAP) can be an effective, efficient and, potentially, equitable REDD+ policy option.

      A REAP should prioritise agricultural assistance to growers in productive agricultural areas close to major centres of population.

      A REAP in forest-rich countries might feature low tariffs on agricultural products, while a REAP in forest-poor countries might emphasise biofuel production.

      Agriculture and agricultural expansion account, directly or indirectly, for approximately 31% of global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2007). Any attempt to reduce these emissions must acknowledge people’s continuing need for food and fibre and, despite state and other efforts to curb it, the...

    • (pp. 201-212)
      Arun Agrawal and Arild Angelsen

      Policy makers can improve the likelihood of success for REDD+ initiatives by incorporating success factors identified through decades of research on community forest management. These include sufficient size and clear boundaries of forests, predictability of benefit flows, local autonomy in designing clear and enforceable rules for access and use of forests, and provisions for monitoring and sanctioning rule violations.

      REDD+ outcomes can be enhanced by selecting existing and new community forest management sites with user group and contextual characteristics associated with successful forest outcomes. These include a stable technological and policy environment, low levels of intergroup conflict, and small to...

    • (pp. 213-224)
      Sven Wunder

      Payments for environmental services (PES) have the potential to become effective, cost-efficient and equitable instruments for implementing REDD+ on the ground.

      PES require certain preconditions to be satisfied, in particular land stewardship with ‘the right to exclude third parties’, which is not granted in many forest frontiers.

      Using spatial targeting toward high-threat, high-service and low-cost areas can dramatically improve PES carbon results. Failing to use these design features can make PES inefficient.

      Payments for environmental services (PES) schemes are mushrooming in many countries (Landell-Mills and Porras 2002; Porras et al. 2008). Few formal performance evaluations of PES schemes have been...

    • (pp. 225-236)
      Katrina Brandon and Michael Wells

      Forest protected areas (PAs) could become a critically important element of tropical forest countries’ efforts to implement and benefit from REDD+.

      There are important similarities and overlaps between REDD+ projects and integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) linked to PAs. Like ICDPs, REDD+ pilot and demonstration projects have generated considerable excitement and donor support, and very high expectations among stakeholders.

      ICDPs have generally performed poorly; although the reasons for this are well understood, avoidable mistakes continue to be made in their design and implementation. REDD+ projects should learn from these experiences.

      More than 102 000 protected areas (PAs) cover 12.2%...

    • (pp. 237-248)
      Ole Hofstad, Gunnar Köhlin and Justine Namaalwa

      Unsustainable harvesting and combustion of woodfuel can aggravate climate change but, if woodfuel replaces fossil fuel, it can become part of the solution.

      Policies to reduce the demand for woodfuel (promote more efficient cooking stoves, substitute other fuels) can be effective if combined with and supported by other policies.

      Supply side measures (efficient woodfuel production and plantations) can also help reduce emissions, but there is no substitute for better control of harvesting.

      Unsustainable harvesting and combustion of woodfuel¹ aggravate global climate change. But, since climate change is mainly caused by burning nonrenewable fossil fuel, a switch to sustainable woodfuel could...

    • (pp. 249-262)
      Francis E. Putz and Robert Nasi

      Stopping illegal timber harvesting and adopting reduced-impact logging in the tropics, together with wildfire suppression, could cost-effectively reduce carbon emissions and enhance carbon uptake.

      Carbon uptake in degraded forests could be enhanced by better postlogging forest management practices and active restoration.

      REDD+ goals related to forest degradation are more achievable than ever due in part to recent improvements in remote sensing techniques for monitoring logging and wildfires coupled with increasing availability of hand-held global positioning systems, especially if the synergy with ongoing forest certification is fully utilised.

      International discussions about REDD+ have focused on deforestation, with little regard for the...

  6. Part 5. Testing REDD+ at the local level

    • (pp. 265-280)
      Erin Sills, Erin Myers Madeira, William D. Sunderlin and Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff

      The landscape of REDD+ projects varies significantly across countries, reflecting differences in land tenure systems, drivers of deforestation, recent experience with conservation programmes and governance capacity.

      Indonesia appears to have the most REDD+ projects in the pipeline, with a substantial portion seeking to establish additionality, permanence and a legal claim to carbon by obtaining concessions.

      In Brazil, two common strategies are to initially seek carbon credits from afforestation or reforestation and to develop local-level payments for environmental services (PES) schemes.

      Third-party certification standards and international environmental organisations are major influences on project development.

      The Bali Road Map has triggered massive...

    • (pp. 281-292)
      Pamela Jagger, Stibniati Atmadja, Subhrendu K. Pattanayak, Erin Sills and William D. Sunderlin

      REDD+ projects require an impact assessment approach to estimate emissions and removals; for REDD+ to succeed we need information on this and the associated 3E+ outcomes.

      There are few examples of rigorous impact assessment in the conservation, avoided deforestation and payments for environmental services (PES) literature. REDD+ impact assessment could contribute tremendously to our understanding of successful environment and development policy initiatives.

      We will learn more rapidly and effectively by sharing evaluation designs and findings across REDD+ projects.

      We have a narrow, but critical, window of opportunity to evaluate and learn from the experience of first generation REDD+ projects. By...

    • (pp. 293-304)
      Frances Seymour and Arild Angelsen

      The purpose of this book is to synthesise what we know about ‘what works’ to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Bringing together what we know is important for REDD+ policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders as they begin to realise REDD+ in national policies and on the ground.

      As this book amply illustrates, drawing on existing experience to inform the first generation of REDD+ policies, programmes, and projects presents a paradox. We have learned many lessons about forest conservation and management, but most are lessons about what has not worked. The challenge now is to build on experience but to...