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Carodenuto S.,Unique Forestry and Land Use | Merger E.,Unique Forestry and Land Use | Essomba E.,University of Sheffield | Panev M.,Unique Forestry and Land Use | And 2 more authors.
Forests | Year: 2015

The international debates on REDD+ and the expectations to receive results-based payments through international climate finance have triggered considerable political efforts to address deforestation and forest degradation in many potential beneficiary countries. Whether a country will receive such REDD+ payments is largely contingent on its ability to effectively address the relevant drivers, and to govern the context-dependent agents and forces responsible for forest loss or degradation. Currently, many REDD+ countries are embarking on the necessary analytical steps for their national REDD+ strategies. In this context, a comprehensive understanding of drivers and their underlying causes is a fundamental prerequisite for developing effective policy responses. We developed a methodological framework for assessing the drivers and underlying causes of deforestation and use the Fako Division in Southern Cameroon as a case study to test this approach. The steps described in this paper can be adapted to other geographical contexts, and the results of such assessments can be used to inform policy makers and other stakeholders. © 2015 by the authors.

Merger E.,UNIQUE forestry and land use | Held C.,UNIQUE forestry and land use | Tennigkeit T.,UNIQUE forestry and land use | Blomley T.,LTS International Ltd.
Carbon Balance and Management | Year: 2012

Background: Several previous global REDD+ cost studies have been conducted, demonstrating that payments for maintaining forest carbon stocks have significant potential to be a cost-effective mechanism for climate change mitigation. These studies have mostly followed highly aggregated top-down approaches without estimating the full range of REDD+ costs elements, thus underestimating the actual costs of REDD+. Based on three REDD+ pilot projects in Tanzania, representing an area of 327,825 ha, this study explicitly adopts a bottom-up approach to data assessment. By estimating opportunity, implementation, transaction and institutional costs of REDD+ we develop a practical and replicable methodological framework to consistently assess REDD+ cost elements.Results: Based on historical land use change patterns, current region-specific economic conditions and carbon stocks, project-specific opportunity costs ranged between US$ -7.8 and 28.8 tCO xxxx for deforestation and forest degradation drivers such as agriculture, fuel wood production, unsustainable timber extraction and pasture expansion. The mean opportunity costs for the three projects ranged between US$ 10.1 - 12.5 tCO 2. Implementation costs comprised between 89% and 95% of total project costs (excluding opportunity costs) ranging between US$ 4.5 - 12.2 tCO 2 for a period of 30 years. Transaction costs for measurement, reporting, verification (MRV), and other carbon market related compliance costs comprised a minor share, between US$ 0.21 - 1.46 tCO 2. Similarly, the institutional costs comprised around 1% of total REDD+ costs in a range of US$ 0.06 - 0.11 tCO 2.Conclusions: The use of bottom-up approaches to estimate REDD+ economics by considering regional variations in economic conditions and carbon stocks has been shown to be an appropriate approach to provide policy and decision-makers robust economic information on REDD+. The assessment of opportunity costs is a crucial first step to provide information on the economic baseline situation of deforestation and forest degradation agents and on the economic incentives required to halt unsustainable land use. Since performance based REDD+ carbon payments decrease over time (as deforestation rates drop and for each saved ha of forest payments occur once), investments in REDD+ implementation have a crucial role in triggering sustainable land use systems by investing in the underlying assets and the generation of sustainable revenue streams to compensate for opportunity costs of land use change. With a potential increase in the land value due to effective REDD+ investments, expenditures in an enabling institutional environment for REDD+ policies are crucial to avoid higher deforestation pressure on natural forests. © 2012 Merger et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Kahrl F.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | Kahrl F.,University of California at Berkeley | Su Y.,World Agroforestry Center | Su Y.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | And 7 more authors.
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2013

This paper develops three scenarios for the management of an existing, low productivity, collective forest plot in Southwest China: continuation of the status quo, transition to sustainable forest management (SFM), and conversion to a short rotation species for producing biomass for electricity generation. We examine how economic incentives vary across the three scenarios and how payments for CO2 sequestration and offsets affect incentives. We find that SFM is risky for forest managers and is highly sensitive to revenues from initial thinning; that carbon revenues can lower some of the risks and improve the economics of SFM; but that carbon revenues are effective in incentivizing management changes only if yield response to thinning is moderately high. Energy production from stem wood is too low value to compete with timber, even with revenues from CO2 offsets. However, conversion of existing forests into short rotation species for timber rather than energy is more profitable than any scenario considered here, highlighting the need for regulatory innovations to balance incentives for timber production with conservation goals. The results underscore the importance of improved public sector regulatory, planning, extension, and analysis capacity, as an enabling force for effective climate policies in China's forestry sector. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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