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REDD+ refers to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation; the ‘plus’ goes beyond the basic structure of REDD+ to include forest conservation, the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. REDD+ offers financial incentives for developing countries to reduce carbon emissions from forests. Between 15-25% of global carbon emissions are attributed to deforestation – a significant contribution to climate change.
Essentially, REDD+ gives standing forests a dollar value according to the amount of carbon they contain (measured and verified in ‘carbon credits’). This carbon would be released if the forest were to be destroyed.
REDD+ is an evolving mechanism which is being developed through a mix of top-down approaches, spearheaded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with state level governments alongside bottom-up project-based approaches based in forest areas under threat. Top-down or jurisdictional approaches to REDD+ architecture need to be matched against grounded lessons from real world projects around the globe; both levels are critical for REDD+ to be effective.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has been at the forefront of grounded REDD+ efforts. FFI’s niche in REDD+ combines a century of practical conservation work with local partners in over 40 countries with in-house technical expertise.
For the past five years FFI has invested in developing a portfolio of REDD+ projects across six countries to test and help develop REDD+ instruments for global application. We work with a wide range of partners, from investors, national and sub-national governments, to local NGOs, Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
FFI’s team of forest carbon and socio-economic specialists support our field teams to identify, develop and implement REDD+ projects in line with leading carbon standards, including the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards and Plan Vivo Standards. This work offers important lessons about the practical realities of implementing REDD+ on the ground.
The money generated by the sale of carbon credits from these REDD+ projects is intended to be invested in the actors responsible for ensuring that forests remain standing. Socio-economic and ecological benefits are also of critical importance. Given the governance challenges faced by tropical forest-rich countries worldwide, figuring out where the money should be directed is not a simple task. REDD+ is thus inextricably tied to efforts to improve forest governance. This includes addressing land tenure rights uncertainties – especially for Indigenous Peoples and local communities; undoing the perverse incentives contained in many forest and land management regulations; and improving transparency.
FFI sees a number of important benefits of being involved in REDD+:
Our interventions build on a long history of cooperation with host country partners, enabling FFI to develop innovative and high quality REDD+ interventions globally. We are always responsive to local needs and this means we are taking a bespoke approach to each location, ranging from large commercially linked projects to Community Carbon Pool initiatives designed to support local communities to sustainably manage their forest.
FFI’s REDD+ project profiles and policy briefing documents are available on our REDD+ Resource page.