Policy makers have to make choices on how, where and when to implement REDD+. REDD-researchers at Wageningen UR published research that helps to see the consequences of these choices in a special issue on REDD+ of the scientific journal Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (COSUST).
The special issue gives in 20 articles an interdisciplinary overview of the state-of-the-art in REDD+ research. The special issue comes timely, as it informs negotiators at the current climate conference in Doha.
Key issue is how, where and when REDD+ will work, and how complex REDD+ policies should be. To keep REDD+ simple, one could focus on reducing carbon emissions only. That would however mean that REDD+ could become a threat for biodiversity and the livelihoods of local communities. Incorporating these concerns makes REDD+ much more complex and more difficult to implement. Especially as monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of the effect of REDD+ on biodiversity and livelihoods is much more complex than just monitoring tree cover. Incorporating agriculture in REDD+, would further complicate REDD+, but would do more justice to deforestation and forest degradation often being driven by agriculture. Apart from the scope of REDD+, scale is another issue. Local REDD+ projects are easily designed. Integration of REDD+ in national and international policy and monitoring, reporting and verification systems makes it more complex.
'There are different views on these matters', says Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, main editor of this special issue of COSUST. 'The special issue has articles from authors with various views and insights.' Some issues simply need to be incorporated in REDD+ to make it work, such as the rights of local communities. Other issues are co-benefits can be seen as additional, she says. What became clear is that research on REDD+ needs to be interdisciplinary, Visseren-Hamakers adds, as the questions at hand can't be tackled by one single scientific discipline.
The special issue is edited by Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, Aarti Gupta, Martin Herold, Marielos Peña-Claros and Marjanneke J. Vijge. The introductory synthesis article will be open access available.