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  • Beyond opportunity costs: who bears the implementation costs of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation?

Beyond opportunity costs: who bears the implementation costs of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation?


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Authors: Luttrell, C.; Sills, E.O.; Aryani, R.; Ekaputri, A.D.; Evnike, M.F.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries is based on the premise that conserving tropical forests is a cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions and therefore can be fully funded by international actors with obligations or interests in reducing emissions. However, concerns have repeatedly been raised about whether stakeholders in REDD+ host countries will actually end up bearing the costs of REDD+. Most prior analyses of the costs of REDD+ have focused on the opportunity costs of foregone alternative uses of forest land. We draw on a pan-tropical study of 22 subnational REDD+ initiatives in five countries to explore patterns in implementation costs, including which types of organizations are involved and which are sharing the costs of implementing REDD+. We find that many organizations involved in the implementation of REDD+, particularly at the subnational level and in the public sector, are bearing implementation costs not covered by the budgets of the REDD+ initiatives. To sustain this level of cost-sharing, REDD+ must be designed to deliver local as well as global forest benefits.

Publication Year: 2017

ISSN: 1381-2386

Source: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

DOI: 10.1007/s11027-016-9736-6


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  • Success from the ground up: Participatory monitoring and forest restoration

Success from the ground up: Participatory monitoring and forest restoration


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Authors: Evans, K.; Guariguata, M.R.

New global forest restoration initiatives present an unparalleled opportunity to reverse the trend of deforestation and forest degradation in the coming years. This effort will require the collaboration of stakeholders at all levels, and most importantly, the participation and support of local people. These ambitious restoration initiatives will also require monitoring systems that allow for scalability and adaptability to a range of local sites. This will be essential in understanding how a given restoration effort is progressing, determining why or why not it is succeeding and learning from both its successes and failures. Participatory monitoring could play a crucial role in meeting international monitoring needs. The potential of participatory monitoring in forest restoration and related forest management activities is explored in this review through multiple case studies, experiences, field tests and conceptual discussions. The review seeks to deepen and broaden our understanding of participatory monitoring by teasing out the lessons learned from existing knowledge and mapping a possible path forward, with the aim of improving the outcomes of forest restoration initiatives.

Source: CIFOR Publications

Series: CIFOR Occasional Paper no. 159

Pages: 43p.

Publisher: Bogor, Indonesia, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Publication Year: 2016

ISBN: 978-602-387-039-4

DOI: 10.17528/cifor/006284


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  • Drivers of Illegal and Destructive Forest Use

Drivers of Illegal and Destructive Forest Use


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Authors: Pokorny, B.; Pacheco, P.; Cerutti, P.O.; van Solinge, T.B.; Kissinger, G.; Tacconi, L.

This chapter reflects upon the drivers of illegal logging and associated timber trade. Much of this discussion is related to a broader debate about the drivers of forest degradation and deforestation (FAO, 2016a; Kissinger et al., 2012; Geist and Lambin, 2001). In this debate illegal logging is primarily interpreted as harvesting of timber for export by logging companies that take advantage of flaws in regulations and law enforcement (Kissinger et al., 2012). This framing has been partly driven by the lobbies of timber importing countries to bring the issue of deforestation within the legality debate, and so to extol those policy measures aimed at improving forest legality as a means to tackle deforestation.

Series: IUFRO World Series no. 35

Publisher: Vienna, Austria, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)

Publication Year: 2016

ISBN: 978-3-902762-70-2

ISSN: 1016-3263

Source: Daniela Kleinschmit, Stephanie Mansourian, Christoph Wildburger, Andre Purret (eds.) Illegal Logging and Related Timber Trade – Dimensions, Drivers, Impacts and Responses: A Global Scientific Rapid Response Assessment Report. 61-78, CIFOR’s library


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  • From Paris to Marrakech: forests, climate change and REDD+ in Southeast Asia

From Paris to Marrakech: forests, climate change and REDD+ in Southeast Asia


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Photo: Grace Wong/CIFOR
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Photo: Grace Wong/CIFOR
Photo: Grace Wong/CIFOR

By Rob Finlayson, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World Blog

The implications of international agreements on the ten countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their extensive forests was explained at an Experts Dialogue in Indonesia

The Paris Agreement is a global deal aimed at limiting the negative impact of climate change. The implications for Southeast Asia’s forests were explained to senior officials of member states at an Experts Dialogue on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in ASEAN held in Bali, Indonesia, 30 November 2016 by Grace Wong of the Center for International Forestry Research. The Dialogue was supported by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Paris, France in November 2015, reached a consensual deal—the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement—signed by 193 countries, 115 of which have ratified it. It entered into force on 4 November 2016.

Wong explained that the aim of the Agreement is described in Article 2: a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change; b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse-gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse-gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

Forest area in Southeast Asian countries, 1990–2010. Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Forest area in Southeast Asian countries, 1990–2010. Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

For the first time, forests were explicitly mentioned, in Article 5.1, which encourages action for results-based payments to keep forests standing, such as the mechanism known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus Conservation (REDD+). Article 5.2 states that keeping forests and trees standing and sustainably managed will be crucial in global efforts to reach the goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5–2 °C. Especially for forest-rich Southeast Asia, avoided deforestation can provide major reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions and is explicit in many nationally determined contributions to the goal.

The Paris Agreement was a complete document that sets out the overarching goals and framework for international climate action. The details of the Agreement are to be ironed out by 2018, with a review of progress in 2017. The recent 22nd Conference of Parties, held in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, began the implementation of the Agreement. Some of the key issues discussed were finance, the global stocktake process and guidance for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and transparency.

Finance: the Parties reiterated their commitment to USD 100 billion per year of public and private finance for developing countries by 2020. The UNFCCC Standing Committee of Finance released its biennial assessment showing an upper, bound estimate of total global climate finance in 2013 and 2014 from all sources added up to USD 714 billion. A greater balance between mitigation and adaptation was also indicated although only USD 80 million was committed to the Adaptation Fund. A new Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency trust fund has begun with an initial USD 50 million funding projects in Costa Rica, Kenya and South Africa. Non-market approaches were considered significant owing to complexities around the implementation of REDD+ policies and measures before results-based payments would be possible. How mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund will deal with both the non-market elements of policy performance and results-based payments will be closely monitored by all REDD+ countries. You can read more about this here and here.

NDCs: each country determines what contribution they should make to reach the global goals. Article 3 requires these contributions to be ‘ambitious’ and ‘represent a progression over time’. After five years, the next ambition should be more ambitious than previous. According to Wong, the challenges in developing guidance for NDCs are in communicating the mechanisms, accounting and developing guidance for different types of NDCs, avoiding double accounting and allowing flexibility for each country depending on their capacity.

Keeping ASEAN’s forests standing is critically important for the future of our planet. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson
Keeping ASEAN’s forests standing is critically important for the future of our planet. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

Global stocktake: to evaluate whether the world is on track to limit warming. In 2018, a Facilitative Dialogue will assess progress and plan for the next round of NDCs.

Transparency: the foundation of the Paris Agreement’s ‘ambition mechanism’; a unique approach that allows countries to increase their ambition. A lot of discussion took place on how to create a fair ‘rulebook’ so all countries could have confidence when assessing each other’s climate pledges. The technicalities of the rulebook—setting baselines and methodologies—will likely continue into 2018. For example, decisions on the balance between national sovereignty and global uniformity in the rulebook for monitoring greenhouse-gas emissions were put off till the next year.

‘For REDD+, transparency includes assessing biases related to use of historical periods in forest reference greenhouse-gas emission levels and the systematic choices relevant to national circumstances’, said Wong. ‘Independent monitoring can be critical for credibility of any such system, involving a variety of practices that include elements of free and open methods, data and tools, increased participation and complementarity to national reporting’. A report on an event on transparency held during the Marrakech conference can be read here.

In addition, the implications need to be considered of any measuring, reporting and verification  system aimed at REDD+ shaped by diverse interests, information, institutions and ideas that require multilevel coordination and governance. Understanding the politics of different people at different levels of government and society could lead to a more effective system.

The challenge for ASEAN

All nations recognize that achievement of the Paris Agreement goals as well as the Sustainable Development Goals will be impossible without action to protect, restore and sustainably manage all types of forests […] [T]ransformation of the forest sector requires fundamental  changes from both the public and private sectors. Only determined, sustained leadership and inclusive forest governance will deliver this.

How will ASEAN leaders rise to this challenge? According to Wong, ASEAN member states need to increase transparency in the forest sector if they are to improve the effectiveness of REDD+. This should include efforts to incorporate the needs and interests of all the different groups of people involved through dialogue, communications, trust and participation. They also need to ensure transparency in, and free accessibility to, data and data sources, methodologies and tools.

‘Secondly, ASEAN member states need to increase the ambition of their NDCs and the role of forests’, said Wong. ‘This implies being open to independent review and actively participating in the review of others and also increasing investments into forest conservation, restoration and sustainable management, relative to other sectors’.


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  • Diversity, commitment, challenges and shared goals: How CIRAD looks at FTA

Diversity, commitment, challenges and shared goals: How CIRAD looks at FTA


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It is estimated that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Photo by TmFO
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Plinio Sist is the Director of the Research Unit Forests and Societies at the French Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), one of the core partner institutions of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). In this interview, he talks about CIRAD’s involvement in the program, key achievements and expectations for the new phase of the research partnership starting next year. Read more blogs on partnerships here.

Why did CIRAD become involved in FTA?

CIRAD and CGIAR centers, particularly the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International, had a long collaborative history with the research unit Forests and Societies, which was formerly part of CIRAD-Forêt. This research unit had, for example, seconded between four and six researchers to CIFOR in Bogor, Lima, Yaoundé, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. The implication of CIRAD in FTA therefore came naturally, in order to strengthen our collaboration framework within a big challenging research program.

How did the partnership develop?

In phase 1 of FTA, the research unit Forests and Societies collaborated in Flagship 2 Management and conservation of forest and tree resources, coordinated by Bioversity. Forests and Societies brought in two projects dealing with Central African forest management and future Dynamique des Forets d’Afrique Centrale (DYNAFOR) and CoForTips for the Congo Basin.

Later, we participated in the Sentinel Landscapes research, launched in mid-2012, developing the Tropical managed Forest Observatory (TmFO), which now includes 17 different institutions.

Many landscapes in the tropics are now covered by forests that have been disturbed by logging. Photo: TmFO
Many landscapes in the tropics are now covered by forests that have been disturbed by logging. Photo by: Ervan Rutishauser

Forests and Societies also participated–with CIRAD’s research units Green and Selmet–in another pantropical Sentinel Landscapes project on the expansion of oil palm in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Overall CIRAD researchers of five different units collaborated in all the five Flagships of FTA from 2011-2016. Because of its engagement, CIRAD became a member of the FTA management group and sits in the steering committee, and is involved in strategic decision making.

What was most valuable for you in working within FTA?

FTA showed to be an outstanding opportunity to work in groups of scientists from different disciplines and cultures, dealing with different research topics, but with common main objectives like poverty alleviation through sustainable management of forests and trees for the benefit of local populations and the society in general.

Could you give an example of a particularly good collaboration?

In 2012, we initiated the Tropical managed Forest Observatory. This network of 17 different forest research institutions and universities aims to assess the resilience of logged tropical forests in the context of climate change and high pressure of human activities towards the conversion of tropical forests to agricultural lands.

Although it is obvious that efforts are needed to preserve undisturbed primary forests by creating conservation units, these units alone will not be able to ensure the conservation of all species on a pan-tropical scale, due to economic and political reasons.

Plantation forest. It is estimated today that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Photo: TmFO
Plantation forest. It is estimated today that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Photo by: Ervan Rutishauser

It is estimated today that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Therefore, it has to be accepted that the conservation of biodiversity and of the forest ecosystems of tomorrow will mostly take place within logged, domesticated forests, but only if they are well managed.

Currently, about 400 million hectares of tropical rainforests worldwide are designated as production forests, about a quarter of which is managed by rural communities and indigenous people.

However, there remains an important gap in the current knowledge: Are product harvesting and related ecosystem services in these tropical production forests sustainable in the long term?

Indeed, it is essential to assess forest regeneration capacities on a regional scale following logging, in terms of wood volume, biodiversity and carbon, and to make silvicultural recommendations that are adapted to the different types of forests encountered in a given region.

The TmFO aims to assess the impact of logging on forest dynamics, carbon storage and tree species composition at regional level in the Amazon basin, Congo basin and South East Asia. TmFO is unique as it is the only international network looking at logged tropical forests.

Another good example is the collaboration for a Forests special issue on global research questions such as forest landscape governance.

What do you expect from the next phase ?

The first phase of FTA was an exciting period. We worked with hundreds of colleagues in a new framework of cooperation that brought together different centers and addressed new global challenges.

The second phase must be considered as an opportunity to develop big projects with challenging objectives. One of them may be forest degradation, which is just as dramatic as deforestation in some regions like the Amazon and South East Asia.

Many landscapes in the tropics are now covered by forests that have been disturbed at different gradients by illegal and predatory logging, planned logging, and fire among others. In many of these regions, people are willing to stop deforestation and develop programs to restore forests.

But there are some challenging questions to ask that I hope FTA will help us to answer: How will these degraded forests be considered in such programs? What will be their role in providing both goods and environmental services and their contribution to restoration programs?

To make progress in finding the answers, we need to work together more closely and with more interactions between the clusters of activities within a research theme, but also with more interactions between the five Flagships themselves.

More on partnerships

Robert Nasi: Partnerships make forests, trees and agroforestry program work

Long-term relationships and mutual trust—partnerships and research on climate change

The best science is nothing without local voices: Partnerships and landscapes

Influence flows both ways: Partnerships are key to research on Livelihood systems

Partnership increases number of academically trained foresters in DR Congo from 6 to 160 in just ten years

Bringing in the development expertise: INBAR to join CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Connecting with countries: Tropenbos International to join CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry


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