REDD: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation


I have been receiving a fair few questions of late about REDD and decided a blog entry was in order to answer many of the basic questions about the program and what it stands for. This article is only going to serve as a basic introduction to the UN-REDD program and REDD+, I will go into more detail in a future post.

“The UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations Collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries.  The Programme was launched in September 2008 to assist developing countries prepare and implement national REDD+ strategies, and builds on the convening power and expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).”

Excerpt from the UN-REDD Programme website

Deforestation and forest degradation are listed separately from one another so it is important that we know what we mean by the two terms and why they are indeed different from one another. Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees from an area and the removal of that land from forest use, whereas forest degradation is caused through activities that limit the forests overall productivity. Agricultural expansion, conversion to pastureland, infrastructure development, destructive logging, fires etc., are all examples of activities that are causing deforestation and degradation with the result being  nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions being produced.  20% is more than the entire global transport sectors emission and is only seconded by the energy sector. Due to the large volume of greenhouse gasses being produced by deforestation and degradation  it is impossible to start addressing global greenhouse gases without reducing the forest sectors output. REDD+ is the current answer to this problem by attempting to offer a financial incentive for the carbon locked away in forests as well as trying to encourage developing nations in particular to reduce emissions from their forests and focus on sustainable development. REDD+ also encourages nations financially to improve their forest lands through sustainable management and increasing forest areas.

REDD+ has the potential through the cutting of greenhouse gases to supply developing nations with up to $30 billion per year which can then be put into developing that nations infrastructure and making it a more sustainable economy where being greener and focussing on the sustainable management of their forests is the ticket to financial stability rather than having to pillage their own natural resources for a lesser reward.

The [UN-REDD] Programme currently supports 42 partner countries spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, of which 14 are receiving support to National Programme activities. These 14 countries are: Bolivia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ecuador, Indonesia, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Viet Nam and Zambia. To-date, the UN-REDD Programme’s Policy Board has approved a total of US$59.3 million for National Programmes in these 14 partner countries. These funds help to support the development and implementation of national REDD+ strategies.

Revised-UN-REDD-map

What is the difference between REDD+ and the UN-REDD Programme?

REDD+ is a climate change mitigation solution that many initiatives, including the UN-REDD Programme, are currently developing and supporting. Other multilateral REDD+ initiatives include the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility(FCPF) and Forest Investment Program (FIP), hosted by The World Bank.

As you can see this topic is one that increases the questions you might have as you begin to explain it which is why I am leaving this article here as a basic introduction. I will go into more detail in a later post.

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About paulreynolds87

I completed my first degree in BSc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology and then moved on to my MSc in Habitat Management and Conservation (Ecology). I am now the education officer and a primate keeper at Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary.
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4 Responses to REDD: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

  1. Carlo Castellani says:

    Definitions of “developing country, forest, support, approved” are needed.
    Why “it is impossible to start addressing global greenhouse gases without reducing the forest sectors output”?
    Why only developing countries are considered?
    “These funds help to support the development and implementation of national REDD+ strategies”: I understand that (my) money is being spent while deforestation is going on: REDD+ = business as usual. Why should REDD+ succeed in front of repeated failures of ALL past initiatives developed and implemented by international organizations?
    Why only forest benefits of incentives and not other carbon sinks as peatland?

    • Firstly, let me say thank you Carlo for your comment.

      The whole point of REDD+ is to stop developing countries (who incidentally have within them the largest areas of important forest areas) from poorly managing and destroying their forest areas as a means to make money. Instead this is replaced by payments for them that make it economically rewarding to protect their forest areas. REDD+ is working better than any such strategy that has come before it. Is it perfect? no and yes it could do with some tweaking and defining in parts as it it can be ambiguous in areas but the overall principle is sound and working. In March 2011, requirements for peatland rewetting and conservation (PRC) projects were developed and released under the verified carbon standard (VCS). Therefore, PRC projects are now an eligible category of the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector of the VCS, so although no huge project like REDD+ currently exists for peatland it is making it’s way into the carbon credit model and the conservation of such land can be used to offset. I am not quite sure of all of your points here so if I haven’t quite answered your questions as you wished please write me back.

  2. Mathew Bukhi says:

    REDD+ concept is missing out one very important issue. What part of the globe is leading in CO2 emission? The answer is apparent, the North. If it is like that, why is the world wasting time in advocating for reduction of CO2 emissions through forest conservation and management in the South?

    Why is the world shamming with this REDD or REDD+ initiatives while it is a fact that the real culprit in CO2 emission is the North? Let the North (especially US) reduce their own emissions first and then, REDD initiative can supplement their reduction. But, if the North will keep on with their emission levels (as they are now), for sure, REDD initiatives will be similar to “hooey”

  3. Key problems for REDD and REDD+ include competition for land-use (food, forest, other forest, mixed ‘bush’), tree establishment and monitoring costs, impact on local population and environment, and easy access to suitable wood for fuel wood saving stoves with small openings.
    I have developed documented and/or promising solutions for these key problems incl. improved direct seeding and management methods for fast growing tropical multipurpose tree legumes and can contribute e.g. as freelance consultant.
    What actually came out of COP-17 of relevance for this and is REDD+ financing also comming?

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