JOHANNESBURG, 21 November 2012 (IRIN) – Scientists are pushing for changes to a UN mechanism that aims to curtail greenhouse gases by preventing forest loss. Environmentalists have long argued the mechanism must also protect biodiversity and forest-dependent communities. Now, ahead of climate talks in Doha, this thinking is finding a broader audience.
The mechanism, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its successor, REDD+ (which additionally aims to reverse forest loss), emerged through years of UN climate change negotiations. It is currently designed to provide financial incentives for forest preservation, attaching a monetary value to carbon captured by forests. But its implementation has long been stalled, besieged by questions over its provisions and funding.
A new assessment by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), the world’s largest network of forest scientists, may help policymakers reshape REDD+ for the better. The assessment shows that efforts to conserve forests for the purpose of reducing emissions cannot work without protecting biodiversity and the well-being of forest dwellers.