A colleague recently asked the question: What is the possibility of plantations being included in REDD schemes under the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility? It’s an excellent question.
On the final day in Poznan, a dispute took place between Saudi Arabia and Brazil over the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Saudi Arabia wants carbon capture and storage to be included in the CDM. Brazil wants carbon credits for “forests in exhaustion”. Saudi Arabia’s motivation is obvious. It wants to continue extracting and selling oil. But what is Brazil’s motivation? And what, exactly, are “forests in exhaustion”?
The way in which forests are defined will be a crucial factor in determining whether REDD serves a truly useful purpose in helping to protect the world’s forests or, alternatively, is simply used as a means of supplementing the incomes of logging and industrial plantation companies.
In September 2008, the United Nations launched its UN-REDD programme. According to information released by the UN “Nine countries have already expressed formal interest in receiving assistance through the UN-REDD Programme: Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tanzania, Viet Nam, and Zambia.”
The way that forest is defined is crucial to whether REDD will be successful in preventing deforestation. As the Rainforest Foundation notes, “Using FAO’s definition of forest, monoculture plantations, highly degraded forests and even clear-cut areas ‘expected’ to regenerate, are all counted as forests.”