Publications

Forests and climate change: adaptation and mitigation

Bodegom, A.J. van; Savenije, H.; Wit, M. de

Summary

ETFRN news No. 50: Forests and Climate Change: adaptation and mitigation. This newsletter contains interesting materials for those who think about the question how to proceed with forests and climate change after Copenhagen, with or without an agreement. Here below are presented some observations from this newsletter: • Adaptation and mitigation are separate issues in the climate discussions, but in forest practice they are two sides of the same coin. • We need forest management directed at the realization of different objectives at the same time, we do not need pure ‘carbon forests’. Not addressing ‘people’ and ‘planet’ considerations is increasingly seen – by both the public and private sector – as a business risk. • Not all countries will be able to comply with REDD rules in the short term. The voluntary carbon market will remain important. • REDD is an opportunity and a risk for local communities. Risks should be made transparent, and open and equal participation by communities in design and decision-making should be promoted • REDD and other forest-based climate change mitigation measures are likely to be low-cost and effective in the short to medium term. Some stakeholders fear that forests may become a too-cheap mitigation option and corrupt the overall climate agreement. In most calculations, however, the costs of developing, operating and managing the institutional system required to produce credible and sustainable forest carbon credits are not internalized in forest carbon prices. If they were, forest carbon prices would become much higher and more realistic. • The role of forests must be clarified and articulated in National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs). At present most political attention and financing is focused on REDD, and, in general, on climate mitigation. Only recently has the concern for the role of forests in adaptation gained ground; this emanates from the growing recognition that climate change will happen anyway. Moreover, climate change will affect the most vulnerable ecosystems and poorer regions. • There is a clear need for harmonization and coherence in the certification market (SFM, and carbon, fair trade etc.). Certification is not necessarily the only credible basis for payment. As illustrated in this issue, mutual trust can be an alternative, particularly for small-scale initiatives that cannot afford the high transaction costs of certification.