Measuring REDD+ Impacts: Analysis of Institutional Capacity for MRV and Practices of Forest Monitoring in Developing Countries

At the heart of REDD+ is the compensation of REDD+ countries for quantified and verified emissions reductions resulting from implementation of REDD+ activities. This project focusses on the institutional and organizational arrangements required to deliver an effective and efficient MRV system for REDD+. The goal is to determine and enhance the institutional and governance capacity of REDD+ countries to effectively and efficiently Monitor, Report and Verify (MRV) the carbon and (co)benefits resulting from REDD+ activities.

Forest monitoring is an established practice. However, current negotiations under the climate convention on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) have brought new rules to forest monitoring. REDD+ countries are required to Monitor, Report and Verify (MRV) REDD+ impacts and to establish National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS) to perform MRV. The NFMS are required to use a combination of remote sensing and ground-based methods, and provide transparent and accountable forest carbon estimates. Researchers who have examined the capacity of REDD+ countries to monitor REDD+ impacts have concluded that most REDD+ countries have low technical and weak institutional capacity. However, subsequent research mainly focus on developing new technologies for measuring deforestation and degradation. Existing practices in, and institutional capacity for forest monitoring remain understudied. This study fills these knowledge gaps by (1) examining the institutional capacity of existing forest monitoring systems and (2) exploring the practice of forest monitoring, its historical evolution and evolution factors, from a practice-based approach. The study is part of the CIFOR-led Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS-REDD), which aims to provide policy and technical guidance to REDD+ stakeholders. It is conducted in two phases. Phase one is a survey of the institutional capacity of the 13 countries under the GCS REDD. Phase two is a comparative case study that explores and compares practices of forest monitoring across three GCS countries.