Deforestation and forest degradation have reached an alarming rate in recent years while majorly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. To fight and mitigate the effects of climate change, international communities, supported by researchers and the United Nations, developed the REDD+ mechanism to promote the conservation and sustainable management of forests.
Forest Preservation for Climate, Biodiversity and Communities
The significant loss of forests through deforestation, degradation, and land use changes, including agriculture, has contributed to 23% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Preserving forests not only helps to reduce emissions, but also brings other benefits such as protecting water sources, stabilizing precipitation patterns, and positively impacting biodiversity and local communities who rely on them. Furthermore, the rich biodiversity and resources provided by forests, if properly managed, can provide jobs and income for many people in the future.
REDD+: A Mechanism for Forest Conservation and Carbon Credit Generation
The REDD+ program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation by financially rewarding those who maintain forests. This is done by preventing areas of at-risk forest from being cleared, generating carbon credits, and investing in sustainable forest management. The program starts by conducting assessments of the feasibility of implementing a REDD+ project in a specific area. Strategies are then developed, such as providing financial incentives and alternative sources of livelihood to discourage deforestation, reducing degradation in damaged forests, and promoting sustainable development that generates environmental, social, and economic benefits. The program is continually monitored and evaluated, and the avoided carbon emissions are calculated to generate carbon credits.
The Voluntary Carbon Market and the Role of REDD+ in Reducing Deforestation
The voluntary carbon market (VCM) allows for the certification and trade of carbon credits generated by projects and programs that work to reduce deforestation through the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism. Carbon standards have established methodologies for certifying various types of REDD+ activities, including those focused on jurisdictional-scale projects. REDD+ has been very popular among voluntary carbon buyers, and there has been a significant increase in credit issuance in recent years, but if not properly validated and verified it also can come with risks such as inflated baselines and lack of local community benefits. The VCM can support these efforts by providing quick finance to areas where forest loss is high and where public policies are limited.
Ensuring Quality and Transparency in REDD+ Projects through Independent Certification
Reputable organizations, such as Verra, provide standards and oversight for the implementation, monitoring, and verification of REDD+ projects to ensure technical rigor, transparency, and stakeholder participation. Verra, a leading organization in the voluntary carbon market, offers certifications such as VCS, CCB, and SD Vista. It is important to check for certification by a reputable organization before investing in a project.
Is REDD+ Working and Who Can Invest in it
Yes, REDD+ projects have been successful in reducing deforestation rates in areas where they are implemented. Aither is currently working on REDD+ projectshome to hundreds of endangered species and thousands of people impacted by project activities. Institutions and companies can invest in REDD+ projects by purchasing carbon credits, and countries may also fund REDD+ projects through environmental conservation programs. Many leaders in various industries are recognizing the importance of investing in REDD+ projects, not only to mitigate their environmental impact, but also to set themselves apart in a highly competitive market and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.