Will climate-smart agriculture help realize REDD+?

Published on
January 13, 2015
Wageningen University, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

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Key messages

  • Agriculture is a key driver of deforestation and can therefore also deliver key solutions.
  • The mitigation potential varies between regions across the pan-tropics; approaches need to be tailored to their specific local and regional circumstances.
  • CSA is an approach that is primarily focused on technology, and needs to be broadened to address the impacts it has on forests.
  • It is dangerous to assume that higher agricultural yields or CSA will reduce pressure on forests.
  • REDD+ and land grabbing happen simultaneously. Integration and safeguards are needed both for REDD+ and against land grabbing.
  • CSA proponents should not assume a positive outcome for forests. We know that the impacts on land use depend on the type of technologies applied and on the local socioeconomic conditions. CSA recommendations should take this knowledge into account and not just consider on-site effects.
  • Besides emissions from deforestation itself, we need to also consider the emissions from the follow-up land use (especially in the case of agriculture).
  • The compatibility of the landscape approach (that includes REDD+ measures) and CSA is not all clear – since there are very few examples on how they can be addressed together.
  • The impact of CSA on forests is not clear: there are few studies and little empirical evidence.

Key quotes

I see CSA as the sister of REDD+. They can both be seen as interlinked umbrella objectives.
Arild Angelsen -Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
About 70% of deforestation in South America is followed by pasture. All agriculture together accounts for 90% of the deforestation. Is it also receiving 90% of the attention in REDD+?
Martin Herold -Wageningen University

Key recommendations

  • If REDD+ is to be successful, agriculture as the key driver must be addressed specifically in cross-sectorial approaches.
  • Knowledge of emissions hot spots from deforestation and agriculture should be used to prioritize decision making and to identify areas where land-based mitigation supported by CSA can be successful in reducing GHG emissions.
  • Knowledge on emissions hot spots from deforestation and agriculture should also be used to prioritize and assess where sustainable development goals within and across sectors can be tackled.