Wildlife & nature protection society monthly lecture By Mr. Anura Sathurusinghe
What is REDD-plus?
It’s one of the buzzwords in the decades-old climate change negotiations. REDD-plus (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) became part of the ever-expanding climate change lexicon in 2005. It’s easy enough to remember, but the issues surrounding REDD-plus are far from one-dimensional.
Reducing emissions from deforestation (RED) only included changes from forest to non-forest land. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) also covers land-use changes to forest areas with lower carbon stocks. REDD+ includes “restocking within and towards forests.”
In a nutshell, REDD-plus aims to incentivize sustainable forest management. Developed countries would compensate developing countries for undertaking initiatives that could cut their deforestation rate. This is considered an important mitigation action because approximately 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation.
Aside from decreasing greenhouse gases (carbon), then, the discourse on REDD-plus has expanded to include and highlight what have become known as “non-carbon benefits,” such as better governance, strengthened biodiversity conservation and social empowerment.
REDD-plus – if done responsibly – can bring a wealth of benefits to forest-dependent communities, such as preservation and improvement of traditional livelihoods and direct payments. For environmental protection, it is a strategic effort to ensure thriving and sustainable forests and ecosystems. The key is to implement it within a framework of social accountability, the main objective of which is to ensure that resources are used equitably, efficiently and in accordance with guiding policies and rules.