BOGOR, Indonesia – Most countries devising national strategies to curb carbon emissions through avoided deforestation and forest degradation do little to actually address the root causes of deforestation, a new study has found.
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The study examined 98 readiness documents from 43 countries undertaking REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) programs. It found that only 10 nations had planned interventions that explicitly addressed particular drivers of deforestation. Nineteen others acknowledged the importance of addressing drivers in their documents without targeting specific drivers; 14 made no mention of drivers at all.
This has major implications for monitoring the effectiveness of REDD+ projects. Current monitoring efforts tend to focus on verifiable changes in carbon emissions associated with changes in forests, the study notes; enhanced monitoring capacity will be required to account for broader causes of deforestation that current methods often miss, such as socio-economic drivers of deforestation and activities outside forests.
“The danger of not considering drivers is that, as countries focus on forest conservation and increasing carbon stocks, the underlying causes of deforestation will persist,” said the report’s chief author, Giulia Salvini, a researcher at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
“Countries will find themselves in a situation where they are feeding two opposite trends: promoting forest conservation and at the same time allowing certain forces to keep driving deforestation and forest degradation,” she said.