It is estimated that deforestation and forest degradation may account for up to 25% of global carbon emissions. Even the most conservative estimates put the figure at 15%. Either way, this represents a significant contribution to global warming and, as such, warrants close attention in any serious discussions on the most effective ways to minimise the impacts of climate change.
The concept of REDD+ (shorthand for Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) originated in discussions among signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This mechanism – which is continually evolving – creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives for developing countries to avoid emissions and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development – rewarding them for keeping their forests intact, in other words.