Reduced Emission From Deforestation And Degradation (REDD)
By Jeff Waldon, Chief Technical Officer, Forest Carbon Offsets LLC, Alexandria, Va.
Annual emissions from deforestation and forest degradation total more than the cumulative annual emissions from the entire world’s transportation sector.
Peru–While the world struggles with ways to address global climate change, the forest products industry has already begun to produce results in reducing the emissions of climate changing CO2 emissions. Annual emissions from deforestation and forest degradation total more than the cumulative annual emissions from the entire world’s transportation sector. The forest products sector can contribute to solving the problem in two ways. Forest products, such as flooring, decking, and furniture, can sequester carbon for long time periods, and better, more efficient practices in harvesting and processing can reduce emissions from collateral damage in the forest and waste in the factory.
The benefits of better practices in the forest have been recognized by many international standards bodies for certifying carbon sequestration benefits. The general term, reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation or REDD, is a strategy of reducing emissions of the most common greenhouse gas, CO2. CO2 emissions can be reduced by increasing sequestration of carbon through improved forest management. Using reduced impact logging techniques of road planning, tree mapping, and minimizing damage to nonharvest trees leaves more carbon in the forest. That additional sequestration has value in the international voluntary carbon markets, and in coming years is expected to have value in an international regulatory market. The added costs of reduced impact logging practices can be more than compensated by monetizing the additional carbon sequestration value.
As with any new system, challenges need to be overcome before REDD can reach its full potential. REDD economic challenges revolve around the basic law of supply and demand. The supply of credits potentially available from REDD far outstrip the potential demand on the voluntary market. Projects are underway and credits are being traded, but the prices and volumes are relatively small compared to the regulatory markets. Land tenure and government risk is a concern in many places, and REDD is unlikely to flourish in countries where land tenure, indigenous people’s rights, and corruption are a concern.
The general term, reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation or REDD, is a strategy of reducing emissions of the most common greenhouse gas, CO2.
In Peru, REDD is being applied both for direct conservation of forested lands and improved forest management. The best projects are also integrating standards for biodiversity and community benefit programs making REDD a process that not only addresses climate change, but also biodiversity protection and community development effectively excluding projects that have land tenure/indigenous rights issues. The job creation aspect of the forest products industry is an especially good match in these programs since the forest products industry often supports livelihoods in rural communities that can’t be matched in any other way.
A prime example of this strategy is a project by the Bozovich Group in Peru that is in the early stages of development. That project will ultimately encompass 74,000 ha of primary forest. Part of the concession will be set aside and protected. The bulk of the property will be managed carefully to maintain the carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and community benefits of the forest to the greatest extent possible. The sustainable forestry component has already been certified by the international Forest Stewardship Council. The carbon sequestration value of the project will be certified internationally by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The biodiversity and community benefits of the project will also be certified internationally by the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance. The result will be a project where buyers of verified emission reduction credits can be assured that the value of the project is real, independently verified, conservatively measured, and a net positive benefit to both biodiversity and communities. Bozovich has partnered with Forest Carbon Offsets LLC (FCO), a developer of forest carbon projects in the tropics.
Bozovich is an award-winning leader in sustainable forestry practices, and FCO is a U.S. company that has successfully received certification for the first VCS REDD project in the tropical Western Hemisphere. The partnership between the two companies has resulted in an extremely strong team that can successful integrate the emerging carbon markets into the forest products industry in Peru.
The forest products industry is poised to be a major player in coming decades in the global climate change challenge. Well-managed forests sequester carbon, protect biodiversity, and provide livelihoods for local communities. The world is unlikely to limit global warming without first addressing deforestation and forest degradation, and the forest products industry is clearly a major player that must be engaged to achieve success.