Major reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions are necessary if we are to avoid disastrous climate change. Given that deforestation and forest degradation account for up to 17% of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions, conservation and sustainable management of forests is a good place to start.
The relatively new approach of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) can help achieve this goal if it is based on good social and environmental principles and fully integrated into broader strategies aimed at achieving deep cuts in carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
With the impacts of climate change more serious than previously thought, REDD can offer a ‘bridging strategy,’ reducing short-term emissions and buying time while the world adapts to a low carbon path. To maximize its effectiveness, REDD needs to be broadened to include the restoration of degraded forests and enhancement of carbon stocks, alongside conservation and sustainable forest management. This is known as ‘REDD-plus’ and offers multiple environmental and social benefits.
In the build-up to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December, we’re starting a three-month climate change focus, beginning by highlighting some of the issues involved in REDD. We also profile people from around the world who are working hard to make REDD a reality for their country.