Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Rainforests

The REDD-ALERT, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through Alternative Land uses in Rainforests of the Tropics, project focuses on ways in which reductions in the rate of tropical deforestation can help to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. These reductions will make a major contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change leading up to successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Dr Robin Matthews, Leader of Climate Change Programme at the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute said before the meeting, "The majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from the burning of fossil fuel, however 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are released by the destruction of the world’s forests. The current international treaty on climate change, The Kyoto Protocol, does not have a mechanism to reward countries for protecting their existing forests, and so reducing greenhouse gas emissions. After the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 there are plans to include such a mechanism in the next treaty. In order to do this, the international community need a better understanding of the current rates of deforestation, and how these rates can be reduced."

In addition to the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, which is leading the project, the group involves three European partners from Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, Georg August University of Gottingen, Germany, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands, together with four international research institutes: World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya, Centres for International Forestry Research, Indonesia, Internatonal Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria and Centro Internacional de Agriculture, Columbia, plus four national research institutes in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cameroon, and Peru.

The first meeting, organised by the Wold Agroforestry Centre, is taking place in Sumatra, Indonesia from May 25-29.

REDD-ALERT is an FP7 EU project lead by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen and involving 10 partner institutions from EU and tropical countries.

The goal of the project is to contribute to the development and evaluation of market and non-market mechanisms and the institutions needed at multiple levels for changing stakeholder behaviour to slow deforestation rates of tropical landscapes and hence reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions.

This will be achieved through the following

  1. Documenting the diversity in social, cultural, economic and ecological drivers of forest transition and conservation and the consequences, in case study areas in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cameroon and Peru (representative of different stages of forest transition).
  2. Quantifying rates of forest conversion and change in forest carbon stocks.
  3. Improving accounting (methods, default values) of the consequences of land use change for GHG emissions in tropical forest margins including peatlands.
  4. Identifying and assessing viable policy options addressing the drivers of deforestation and their consistency with approaches on avoided deforestation currently being discussed in UNFCCC and other international processes.
  5. Analysing scenarios in selected case study areas of the local impacts of potential international climate change policies on GHG emission reductions, land use and livelihoods.
  6. Developing new negotiation support tools and using these with stakeholders at international, national and local scales to explore a suite of options for incorporating REDD into post-2012 climate agreements.

Published on 22 May 2009 in Climate, water and energy