Community participation in REDD+ not what it should be

A study by scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre together with partner European and Southeast Asian institutions argues that REDD+ projects which involve communities are more likely to save forests.

The study found that half of official UN REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) projects do not engage local communities in monitoring, yet communities are able to produce forest monitoring data that is on par with results from professional foresters.

This is the first-ever quantitative study of REDD+ community participation, which was intended to be integral to the mechanism. It argues that locally-gathered data is not only accurate but more legitimate and cost-effective in the long run as well as serving to improve trust in REDD+ among local communities.

“If more REDD+ projects were to include community monitoring, we would see a more just global effort to fight climate change that meaningfully incorporates insight from people who depend on forests ….. and are eager to protect these precious natural resources,” says lead author, Finn Danielsen from the Nordic Foundation for Environment and Development.

Meine van Noordwijk, Chief Science Advisor with the World Agroforestry Centre says: “The legitimacy of international efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation rests on community involvement, yet international promises to engage local people have gone largely unfulfilled.”

The study - Community Monitoring for REDD+: International Promises and Field Realities - has been released in a special issue of the journal Ecology and Society just prior to the 2013 United Nations climate change talks. It is based on research conducted in Southeast Asia’s most complex, carbon-rich forests: lowland forest in Indonesia, mountain rain forest in China and monsoon forest in Laos and Vietnam.

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Media Coverage on Community Carbon Monitoring and REDD+

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