Is REDD+ the right route for conservation organisations?
The World Land Trust believes that REDD+ is an important way of tackling deforestation and climate change, but its full benefits for conservation may not be realised if projects are poorly designed and managed
In 2010, the World Land Trust (WLT) ran a training programme to enable African NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to benefit from opportunities for carbon funding. The programme focused on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation-Plus), as it is considered the most promising bio-carbon funding system for the future. WLT worked on the training programme with IUCN National Committee for the Netherlands (IUCN NL), as both organisations believe that the best way of achieving long-term sustainable conservation is by strengthening local NGOs. Based on the training programme we have produced an introductory guide to REDD+, now available to download. The guide gives a background on WLT’s history of tackling climate change, guidance on what’s involved in a REDD+ project and alternatives for NGOs to help prepare them for future engagement.
What is REDD+ and how does it protect habitats?
The aim of REDD+ is to develop projects that will prevent the further destruction and degradation of forests. Habitat destruction releases vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, accounting for about 12–18 per cent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. One of the most cost-effective early steps that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions is to prevent the destruction of critically threatened forests and other habitats – precisely what WLT and its partners have been advocating and working towards for years. It seems that governments are finally reaching the same conclusion and a global REDD+ framework is taking shape. Yet, creating projects that safeguard forest carbon can be challenging and could damage biodiversity if projects and national strategies are poorly designed. However, for many of our partner organisations REDD+ represents a vital and urgent opportunity to protect large-scale habitat for conservation. Our training programme is an example of the capacity building that will be required if REDD+ is to become a successful global tool for conservation. WLT sees training in conservation-based carbon projects as essential in supporting our partners and other NGOs in engaging with REDD+ over the next few years. We believe that creating high quality REDD+ projects is an important weapon in the fight against climate change and protecting the world’s delicate ecosystems.