Forest destruction produces as much as 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — more than from all the planes, trains and automobiles on Earth.
Protecting forests and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation — a strategy known as REDD — is not only a powerful tool against climate change, it’s also critical to supporting communities and biodiversity around the world.
That's why The Nature Conservancy has been developing, testing and implementing REDD activities around the world for the past decade — to protect forests, combat climate change and benefit local communities.
Our experience demonstrates that REDD works. If done correctly, REDD can be the basis for a vital new way of protecting both people and nature from the devastating impacts of climate change.
Forests are home to more than half of the world’s terrestrial species and they provide food, water, shelter and income to millions of people around the world. Yet the world’s forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Some 50,000 square miles of forest — bigger than the state of Pennsylvania — disappear each year.
Currently, countries have few economic incentives for preserving their forests. With no price put on the value of the carbon stored in trees, forests are considered more valuable for timber, cropland, or pasture than they are as standing, healthy systems.
Current international policy, including the Kyoto Protocol, does not recognize REDD activities as strategy against climate change. So while manufacturers in developed nations can win financial support for lowering their industrial carbon emissions, developing nations cannot receive credits for reducing heat-trapping gases from one of their biggest sources: deforestation.
In the next few years, the developing world will produce more climate-changing emissions than all industrialized nations combined — with deforestation serving as the primary source of emissions in many of these countries.
For example, deforestation in Indonesia produces 80 percent of that country’s annual carbon emissions, placing it among the world’s top emitters alongside the United States and China.
But through REDD activities that place a value on healthy forests — and through the creation of carbon trading markets that allow developing nations to sell credits attained through forest protection — developing countries can generate income from protecting forests rather then destroying them.
The Conservancy's REDD projects include:
The Indonesian government recently announced that the Berau program will serve as a demonstration project to support the creation of a national-level REDD program across Indonesia. Read the press release.
February 16, 2011
The Conservancy is working with policymakers and other partners toward an ultimate goal: To provide countries the incentives and support the need to develop national-level REDD programs in order to reduce deforestation at a scale sufficient to fight climate change.