Considering REDD+, various general questions arise in the minds of readers and researchers regarding the REDD+ nature of work, methodological guidance, decisions on REDD+, financing mechanism etc. The following FAQs will not only provide basic and crisp knowledge of REDD+ but will also help people and individuals dealing with REDD+ and above all the researchers who are on the learning platform, will get to know more about REDD+ and climate change.
A: As per Global Forest Resources Assessment (2020), forests cover about 4.06 billion hectares i.e. 31% of the total land area globally. In other words, each person on the earth has around 0.52 hectare of forest. Only five countries in the world cover more than half (i.e. 54%) of the world’s forests [Russian Federation (20%; 815 million ha), Brazil (12%; 497 million ha), Canada (9%; 347 million ha), US (8%; 310 million ha) and China (5%; 220 million ha)]. The rest of the world covers 46% (1,870 million ha) forests. As per ISFR (2019), India with its 2% contribution in the total global forest area, ranks 10thamong the 10 highestforest area covering countries.
A: It has been projectedthat due to deforestation, a loss of 420 million ha of forests have been observed worldwide since 1990.The rate of deforestation during the 1990-2005was 13 million ha (1,30,000 km2) per year.During 2010-2015, the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 12 million ha which further reduced to 10 million ha in 2015-2020. A significant reduction in the rate of forest loss has been observed over the period 2010-2020 due to afforestation and natural regeneration of forests (FRA, 2020).
A: According to FAO, 'deforestation' can be defined as the conversion of forest to other land uses (agriculture, construction etc.). On the other hand, 'forest area net change' is the sum of all forest losses (deforestation) and all forest gains (forest expansion) in a given period. Depending on whether forest gain exceed forest loss or vice versa, the net change can be either positive or negative. On one hand where deforestation is about loss in forest area, forest area net change addresses both loss and gain in forest area (FRA, 2020).
A: Forests act as provisioners of ecosystem goods and services. The forest catchments are accountable for more than three quarters of the world’s available freshwater. However, the quality of water depends on the forest cover, forest condition, and can further be impacted due to natural calamities such as floods, landslides, and soil erosion(MEA, 2005).
Forests play a vital role in providing a stable economy for millions of people who sustain on them for collection of fuelwood and useful non-timber forest products (NTFPs). It has been estimated that over 3.3 billion cubic meters of wood/timber are annually collected from the forests. This collected wood includes 1.8 billion cubic meters of fuelwood, charcoal, and non-timber forest products (MEA, 2005). Approximately 1.15 billion ha of the global forests are largely managed for the purpose of production of wood and NTFPs,out of which 749 million forests which were earlier managed for multi-purpose use and production of wood, are now mostly used for wood production. Forests also act as provisioners of social services such as tourism, recreation, educational research and conservation of cultural sites which include the usage of more than 180 million ha of forests (FRA, 2020).Dependency of rural poor on forest resources is evident as more than 300 million people depend on forest ecosystems for their sustenance. More than 60 million of indigenous forest dwellers are dependent on forest resources and are also greatly influenced by the health of forest ecosystems (MEA, 2005).
A: It has been estimated that nearly 73% of the world’s forests are publicly owned whereas only 22% are privately owned. The remaining 1% of the world’s forests are generally disputed lands or lands in transition, hence considered as either ‘unknown’ or ‘other’ forest lands. However, since 1990 a global decrease in the percentage of publicly owned forests and an increase in percentage of privately-owned forests has been observed (FRA, 2020). In India, the state and central government are jointly responsible for management of public forests. Practically, the State Forest Departments (SFDs) are the actual guardians of the public forests and manage them as per the forest management plans, which is later submitted to the central government. The Indian Forest Act of 1927 states that the state governments can also declare an area as a Reserve Forest, Protected Forest or a Village Forest
A: A carbon footprint is defined as the amount of GHGs (mainly CO2) released into the atmosphere by a certain human activity. The lesser bio-capacity of the atmosphere in absorbing the carbon emissions emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, causes accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere. Thus, making carbon footprint an important component of the Ecological Footprint.
Carbon footprint varieswith source i.e. either from creation of larger carbon footprint from a country’s deforestation activities or to an individual’s home where smaller carbon footprint is created from the increased use of air conditioner, electricity, heat and transportation.Thus, larger carbon footprints result in increased GHG emissionswhich spur further climate change.
A: In 2019, China was the biggest total CO2 emitter with the largest carbon footprint (9,839 MtCO2 per year), followed by US (5,270 MtCO2 per year), India (2,467 MtCO2 per year), The Russian Federation (1,693 MtCO2 per year) and Japan (1,205 MtCO2 per year). The lowest carbon footprint producing country as in 2019 was Tuvalu with zero MtCO2.
A: Forests act as a stabilizing force for the climate as they help in regulating ecosystems, protecting biodiversity as well as play an essential role in the carbon cycle, along with supporting livelihoods andacting as providers of ecosystem goods and services that overall help in driving sustainable growth.The world’s total land area comprises 31% of the forest cover (FAO and UNEP, 2020) out of which 424 million ha of world’s forests are mainly selected for conserving biodiversity.However, the recent observations have shown slowed rate of growth in biodiversity conservation areas since last ten years.Likewise, the world’s total growing stock of trees have been decreased from 560 billion m3 in 1990 to 557 billion m3 in 2020 as a result of net decline in forest area. The total biomass of the world’s forests has also reduced since 1990 (FRA, 2020).
Forests play a dual role in climatechange by acting bothas a source and a sink for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As per UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global contribution of the deforestation and forest degradation is approximately 17% of all GHG emissions (IPCC, 2007). The land sector being the second largest source of GHG emissions after energy sector, alone contributes nearly 25% of global GHG emissions. Approximately half of the emissions from land sector (5-10 GtCO2e yearly) are contributed by deforestation and forest degradation. On the other hand,the proportion of carbon stock in forest pools constitutes maximum forest carbon in the living biomass (44%) and soil organic matter (45%), with the remaining in dead wood (4%) and litter (6%). The total carbon stock in forests has been found to be reduced from 668 Gt in 1990 to 662 Gt in 2020 (FRA, 2020).
Although, a reduction in the net loss of forest area has been observed since 1990, however due to the continuous deforestation and forest degradation activities, biodiversity is suffering a significant loss. Thus, it can be concluded that the track to meet the target of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests i.e. 3% global increment in forest area by 2030, is still a long way to go (FAO and UNEP, 2020).
A: Climate change puts forth multiple pressure on our environment as well as onour economic, social and political arrangements. Every country faces the impact of changing climate and the most impacted ones are the poor people for whom each day is a new challenge. The overexploitation of natural resources along with climate change is the new challenge for sustenance in front of mankind. With the rising impacts of climate change, increased frequencies and intensity of extreme weather events (such as droughts, floods, heat waves, wildfires) have endangered global food resources, increased migration, threatened livelihoods and on the environmental aspect, it has increased the rate of soil loss and land degradation.
Likewise, increased amount of atmospheric CO2 reduces food’s nutritional quality, hence threatening the agriculture sector. As a result of reduced yields and lost lands due to climate change induced soil erosion, desertification etc., accessibility to sustenance has also been threatened. In total, climate change destabilizes progressive gains and lead to food and water scarcity. Also, increased deforestation for agriculture purposes, cattle rearing etc. has increased GHG emissions resulting in propelled climate change.
A: One of the most significant keys for addressing impacts of climate change are forests as they act as a sink of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. As the forests grow, carbon is absorbed in the wood, leaves and soil, hence removing carbon from the atmosphere. However, if these forests are burnt, degraded or cut down due to various anthropogenic activities such as agriculture expansion, construction etc., the stored carbon gets released back to the atmosphere. It has been estimated that about 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 (includingone-third of the CO2which is contributed by burning fossil fuels) is sequestered by forests each year. However, findings have also shown that about 2 billion hectares of the degraded lands globally, provide restoration opportunities. Thus, enhancing and preserving forests is therefore an essential key to climate change.
A: The people residing in the world’s poorest countries along with world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers who are dependent on climate and natural resources for their economic stability and sustenance are amongst the most vulnerable groups. Studies have revealed that three out of four people living under poverty are more dependent on agriculture and natural resources fortheir survival. The impacts of changing climate which can be observed in the form of erratic weather patterns, natural disasters, reduced natural resources including water scarcity, changes in seasonal patterns etc., are actually a threat to people’s livelihoods pertaining to climate change. It has been estimated that by 2050, the number of people at risk due to changing climate induced food insecurity will be increased by 20%. Additionally, it has been predicted that sustained climate change related impacts will not only create risk for food security, fresh air and clean drinking water sources but on the other hand, it will also be responsible for taking lives of 2,50,000 people every year because of starvation, heat stress, and other diseases.
A: The role of international agreements in bringing all nations on a single platform to take necessary mitigation and adaptation actions for tackling climate change by reducing GHG emissions is very vital. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was formed in 1992 with the objective for reducing GHG emissions which was later signed by many nations as an agreement to their participation in it.Likewise, the second phase of agreement i.e. Kyoto Protocol (1997), was the first global commitment which bound countries with emission reduction targets.However, the Paris agreement (2015) is a landmark environmental accordwhich addresses climate change and its adverse impacts, and has been adopted by each nation.The UNFCCCis familiar with the significant role of forests in mitigating climate change, hence it focuses on forestry activities with an aim of enhancing REDD+ actions (reducing emissions from deforestation; forest degradation; conservation of forest carbon stocks; sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) on mitigation in the forest sector.
A: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is the mechanism which encourages developing countries to take necessary actions against climate change bythe means of protecting, managing and making sustainable use of their forest resources. REDD approaches are aimed to halt deforestation and forest degradationby creating financial incentives for the carbon stored in the standing trees.After the assessment and quantification of the stored carbon, REDD involves the developed nations for paying carbon offsets to the developing countries for their conserved forests. Thus, REDD is a milestone in forestry enterprise which aims at reducing GHG emissions by the means of sustainable forest management along with creating financial stability concerning economic, environmental and social challenges such that biodiversity, forest dwellers, communities and nations may get benefitted.REDD was first introduced during the 11th Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC in 2005.
A: In 2007, during Bali Action Plan i.e. COP 13, the idea of REDD+ was mentioned for the first time. The plan was conferred in five sections (a) shared vision for long-term cooperative action; (b) mitigation; (c) adaptation; (d) technology and (e) finance. However, the impression of adding ‘+’ in REDD (or REDD+) was generated under section (b) i.e. ‘mitigation’ as per the ‘Decision 1/CP.13’ laid out as following:
“Policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries”
The same statement was commented in Paragraph 70 of Cancun Agreement during COP 16 (2010), which determined the foundation of REDD+:
“Encourages developing country Parties to contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector by undertaking the following activities, as deemed appropriate by each Party and in accordance with their respective capabilities and national circumstances:
(a) Reducing emissions from deforestation;
(b) Reducing emissions from forest degradation;
(c) Conservation of forest carbon stocks;
(d) Sustainable management of forests;
(e) Enhancement of forest carbon stocks.”
A: REDD refers to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. While, the '+' in REDD denotes addition of (i) conservation of forest carbon stocks, (ii) sustainable management of forests, and (iii) enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
REDD was mainly focused on mitigation purposes by the means of encouraging developing countries to lessen their emissions as a result of deforestation and forest degradation activities, while REDD+ mechanism is focused on creating financial incentives for results-based actions in developing nations and compensating their governments, companies or forest dwellers for measurable, reportable and verifiable reductions in GHG emissions from activities in forest sector.
A:India has taken its way forward in global REDD+ approach through enhancing its forest cover and forest carbon stocks by the means of sustainable forest management and conservation efforts, thus expecting for compensation for its conservation activities as well as provisions for providing incentives/ benefits to the local communities who are involved in forest protection and management, thus avoiding deforestation.It is estimated that a REDD+ programme for India could provide capture of more than 1 billion tonnes of additional CO2 over the next 3 decades and provide more than $3 billion as carbon service incentives under REDD+ (Sharma and Chaudhary, 2013).
A: REDD+ readiness is the collective efforts that a nation undertakes for supporting and building capacity by providing multilateral or bilateral initiatives in REDD+ mechanism.
A: The main objective of REDD+ is to offer benefits to the important stakeholders who are actually involved in protection, enhancement and forest restoration activities,on the basis of their performance in REDD+ implementation activities.Later, these protected and enhanced forest carbon stocks will be undergone through the process of verification to obtain carbon credits through bilateral and multilateral finance programs, thus mobilizing funding incentives which will be later disbursed among stakeholders.
A: The process of Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) helps to assess country’s total forest carbon stocks as well as other benefits from REDD+.Later, the measuredcarbonstocks from field inventory data will be combined with remote sensing data to estimate GHG inventories in order to lay down Reference Emission Levels (RELs) of the country. Forest Survey of India (FSI) is the nodal agency dealing with forest carbon stocks assessment in India.
A: The methodological decision on REDD+ (4/CP.15) requests developing country Parties to take certain guidance into account for the 5 REDD+ activities, in particular those relating to “To establish, according to national circumstances and capabilities, robust and transparent national forest monitoring systems and, if appropriate, sub-national systems as part of national monitoring systems that:
Therefore, a national forest monitoring system must be:
The system of Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) is the effective process to establish NFMS and also to validate the reductions in deforestation, forest degradation and enhancement in forest carbon stocks in the country in a transparent, steady and precise manner.
A: MRV for REDD+ refers to a set of transparent, reliable, steady and accurate data regarding the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of country’s forest carbon stocks such that GHG estimates (emissions and removals) along with their changes over a time period, can be made in order to establish National Forest Greenhouse Gas Inventories.Overall, the MRV system include:
A: All the mechanisms, including REDD+, that fall under UNFCCC are meant to be included in the National Communications of Parties. As per UNFCCC, one person or institution(who is also legally accountable in front of UNFCCC) is selected on behalf of the respective country for submitting communication. The activities implemented for REDD+ must be done in agreementby the means of better communication with individual/institution responsible for the National Communication.
A: As per decision 2/CP.13, following guidance related to measuring and reporting has been given:
A: Following elements are required to be developed by the developing countries for implementing REDD+ related activities:
A: A three-phased approach has been defined by UNFCCC at COP-16 in Cancun Agreements as:
Phase 1 (Readiness): Development of national REDD+ strategy or action plans; implementation of REDD+ strategy through capacity building; work on policies and measures for REDD+ implementation and design demonstration activities.
Phase 2 (Implementation): Implementation and testing of national strategies and action plans as proposed in Phase 1; results-based demonstration activities; technology development and transfer.
Phase 3 (Results-based actions): Implementation of results-based REDD+ actions at national levels with results being fully measured, reported and verified (MRV).
A: As per the decision, the essential elements of a national REDD+ framework should comprise of a national strategy of actions, a national reference level and a transparent monitoring and reporting system.Following framework has been developed by India:
A:REDD+ implementing activities along with delivering social, environmental and emission reduction benefits, may also deliver negative social and environmental effects. Thus, in order to avoid risk of getting negative effects from REDD+ activities, UNFCCC agreed on a specific set of safeguards known as “Cancun Safeguards” for bringing additional benefits.The seven Cancun safeguards have been listed below:
Thus, it is anticipated that the developing countries will follow safeguards for ensuring complete involvement of indigenous peoples, local communities and relevant stakeholders for conservation and enhancementof forests, and biodiversity for implementation of REDD+ activities.Thus, the role of Safeguards Information System (SIS) becomes significant as it addresses that how the safeguards are being addressed and valued in REDD+ activities. The SIS must provide an updated transparent and reliableinformation which should be accessible by all appropriate stakeholders. A summary of information should be provided periodically by the developing country Parties regarding how the safeguards are being addressed and respected in the REDD+ activities, and the summary should be further voluntarily included in the national communications through the UNFCCC REDD+ Web Platform.
A: REDD+ clearly aims to benefit the indigenous peoples by safeguarding/protecting their rights and India is fully dedicated for providing financial benefits from REDD+ activities to the forest-dependent and tribal communities which can be ensured due to following causes:
Also, the design of the National REDD+ Strategy of India includes safeguards which ensure that the benefits received from REDD+ reach the communities who maintain, protect the forests and biodiversity. The strategy mentions involvement of local stakeholders during the REDD+ implementation process, as they are the actual ones who will be benefitted from protecting forests along with improving livelihoods.
A: As a result of REDD+ activities implemented by the developing countries for halting deforestation, forest degradation and enhancing carbon, financial incentives are created which are paid by the developed nations to the developing nations in the form of results-based payments. In other words, results-based payment means the money which is meant to be paid by one country to the other on the basis of amount of additional carbon that has been stored inside the forests of the country receiving money, as a result of activities slowing down deforestation.
A: When the REDD+ incentives will begin to flow, these will be transmitted from the Centre to State Governments and then to District level. The State Government and District level authorities will plan and manage the flows further down to the local communities.
A: REDD+ has been established as one of the cost-effective ways of alleviating GHG emissions along with subjugating the 2°C rise in temperature. On the other hand, forests are not only carbon storage standing entities but are also the pillars of livelihood security and providers of habitat for biodiversity along with ecosystem goods and services for many indigenous peoples and forest dwelling communities.Secondly, the focus is also to make monetary benefits by conserving the forests and natural resources by the means of establishing markets and mechanisms for generating financial incentives. Thus, if designing of REDD+ is done in a proper manner, financial inflow can be directly made by developing nations along with the forest dependent communities for delivering forest-based carbon storage services.
A: REDD+ alone cannot efficiently mitigate or reduce impacts of climate change.Hence, co-existence of REDD+ with other substantial emission reduction programmes in both developed and developing countries, may restrict climate change.
A: There are bilateral, multilateral and private funding mechanismswhich support REDD+ activities at various levels. There multilateral funding mechanisms such as World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the UN-REDD Programme and Forest Investment Programme (FIP) and Green Climate Fund (GF) support readiness activities for implementing REDD+.
A: Since the funding agencies work independently of each other as well as have different procedures and participatory process for different projects, thus nobody governs them. Information is shared through REDD+ Web Platform and Voluntary REDD+ Database.
A: India was amongst those pioneering countries who believed that REDD was needed to be seen in the broader context of REDD+. Following this inspiration, India has been insisting on following a comprehensive and holistic approach in realizing full potential of mitigation in forestry sector. This finally resulted in acceptance of India’s historical stand in 13th COP meeting at Bali (Bali Action Plan) where the addition of '+' i.e. conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, in the definition of REDD and adopting it as REDD+ was marked.
A: The countries are however developing their own approaches towards REDD+, but the challenges they face in avoiding deforestation remain largely the same. The countries struggle with policy design and its implementation, institutional conflicts, governance, less public commitment, covering REDD+ objectives etc. These circumstances have led REDD+ to be seen as a project but not as policy development in most of the countries.
A: Forests not only store carbon but are also the providers of ecosystem goods and services which comprise water regulation, soil protection, non-timber forests products including food and fiber, climate regulation and biodiversity. Thus, REDD+ in India can help in various ways to deliver ecosystem and societal benefits to indigenous communities and forest dependent people. India is continuously working in the area of REDD+ along with understanding the benefits, challenges and risks associated with REDD+ implementation in the country.
A: For identifying the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation (D&FD), socio-economic and feasibility studies are the main source of information. The data collected from such studies help to assess various direct and indirect drivers of D&FD such as fuel wood usage, policies, tenure systems, population advancements, pressure from agricultural activities, settlement, infrastructure, etc.
A: India is playing a positive role and has taken a firm stance in favor of a comprehensive REDD+ approach. Many national programmes and projects such as Green India Mission (2014) under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (2008), Nagar Van project (2020) have shown India’s ambitions towards meeting its NDC targets. India is underlying the following initiatives related to REDD+:
A: While continuing its support for REDD+ readiness at country level, India’s strategy for 2020-2030 makes a strategic shift to focus on providing capacity support, technical needs in areas such as MRV, stakeholder engagement and equitable benefits sharing at the national level. India’s national climate action plans, known in UN as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), under the Paris Agreement set three major goals: increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 40% of the total electricity generation capacity, to reduce the emission intensity of the economy by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 level, and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover.
A: Though REDD+ is explicit to the forest sector but it can be regarded as a medium that can meet many SDGs such as SDG 13 (climate change mitigation), SDG 15 (sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems) and SDG 7 (access to energy). Since REDD+ has benefits other than carbon offsets i.e. biodiversity conservation (due to halting deforestation) and socio-economic benefits (alternative livelihood options, recognition of forest rights to lands, etc.) towards forest dependent communities, thus REDD+ can also help to achieve SDG 1 (poverty eradication) and SDG 2 (sustainable food security). Furthermore, if REDD+ is designed and implemented in a gender-responsive manner along with the inclusion of rights and concernsof indigenouscommunities, equitably including women and men, it can enhancethe progress in attainingSDG 5 i.e. gender equality and women’s empowerment.
A: REDD+ ensures fair, transparent, broad and effective mechanism, and as a result of its development under UNFCCC, REDD+ is considered as a technical climate financial mechanism. As a result of this, UNFCCC REDD+ decisions have encouraged and approved gender-sensitive REDD+ policies and actions. Decision 1/CP.16, at COP16 in Cancun (2010), directed countries for addressing gender considerations, while developing and executing their REDD+ national strategies or action plans. As a result of this guidance, Decision 12/CP.17 (at COP 17 in Durban Outcomes) further guided countries to respect gender considerations while addressing safeguards through Safeguard Information System (SIS).