Forest tenure reform in the age of climate change: Lessons for REDD+

Numerous authors have stressed the importance of guaranteeing and protecting the tenure and human rights of indigenous and other forest-based communities under schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD, or REDD+); and important international indigenous organizations have spoken out strongly against REDD+. This article examines two specific issues that present risks for local communities: rights to forests and rules for resource use. It draws on the findings of a study conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on forest tenure reforms in selected countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America from 2006 to 2008. The study underlines the numerous obstacles faced by communities after rights are won, in moving from statutory rights to their implementation and to access to benefits on the ground. It argues that there is currently little reason to expect better results from national policies under REDD+ without binding agreements to protect local rights.

Cambodia recieved US$3 million to support her national REDD+ effort

The fifth UN-REDD Policy Board meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, from 4-5 November 2010, approved US$15.2 million for five new countries, and confirmed or pledged funds of US$7.4 million.

Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay received approvals for US$3 million, $6.4 million and $4.7 million, respectively, after having presented the Board with full national REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) readiness programmes. Solomon Islands and the Philippines were allocated approximately US$500,000 each for their initial national programmes.

Also during the meeting, Denmark pledged an additional US$6 million to the Programme, and Spain confirmed its US$1.4 million pledge. The Board also endorsed UN-REDD's five-year Strategy, outlining main work areas for the Programme, and heard progress reports from pilot countries currently implementing REDD+ activities with the UN-REDD's support. (UN-REDD Press Release)

Monks Community Forest in Cambodia Wins Prestigious Equator Prize

Buddhist Monks ordinating a tree.

Pact is proud to announce that its partner organization, the Monks Community Forestry (MCF), a group of Buddhist monks in northwest Cambodia, has won the prestigious United Nations sponsored Equator Prize celebrating outstanding community efforts to conserve biodiversity and reduce poverty. MCF and Venerable Bun Saluth have also received special recognition from a jury of leading conservation and development professionals. Among this year’s 25 Equator Prize winners, only four other communities have received this special recognition.

Since 2001, the monks of the Samraong Pagoda, located in Oddar Meanchey Province near Cambodia’s border with Thailand, have been protecting 18,261 hectares of forest from illegal clearing and incursion. It is now one of Cambodia’s largest and best protected community forests (MCF).

Pact and the Cambodian Forestry Administration have provided support to help the MCF establish community forestry legal status in Cambodia. Pact is now working with the MCF, the Cambodian Government, and with 12 other community forests in the area, on one of Cambodia’s first climate change mitigation and carbon offset projects. The project will earn carbon credits from the voluntary market to support forest protection efforts and contribute to improving local livelihoods. According to Pact’s Program Director, Amanda Bradley, “The MCF has collaborated effectively with local communities to turn an area of uncontrolled logging into an excellent example of best practice in conservation. We’re very excited about the potential of the carbon markets to reinforce and support these local efforts.”

Appalled at the ongoing destruction of his country’s forests, MCF’s Venerable Bun Saluth initiated protection of this area in 2001. With few resources, he and the monks of his pagoda have proven themselves to be powerful conservationists: they have demarcated forest boundaries, raised environmental awareness among local communities, developed co-management committees with local villagers, linked with government authorities and NGOs, and significantly reduced forest crime in the MCF through the development of unique approaches to law enforcement based on Buddhist principles.

The example of the MCF has demonstrated that Buddhist monks can be important allies for the conservation community: they have proven effective at deterring forest crime and can be powerful messengers for environmental protection. Their impressive achievements sprang from the monks’ belief that by protecting the MCF they are following the Buddha’s example and the principles he set out in his teachings to eliminate the suffering of all beings and to live ethically.

This small forest community in northwest Cambodia is now linked with 128 other Equator Prize winners from around the world who have been chosen as representatives of best practices in grassroots movements that combine biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction. Venerable Bun Saluth joins 25 of this year’s winners to receive the prize and US$5,000 in an award ceremony in New York on September 20th.


Tenure Rights and Benefit Sharing Arrangements for REDD: A Case Study of Two REDD Pilot Projects in Cambodia

Paper presented at the Development Research Forum 3rd Annual Symposium on " Research and Policy Response to Cambodia's Recovery and Development" September 9-10 2010, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Deforestation and forest degradation account for up to 20% of the total annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, current approaches to address climate change include strategies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD). Even though REDD is still under discussion within the UNFCCC framework, many REDD pilot projects are being implemented across the tropics. Securing local communities’ tenure rights and their equitable access to forest conservation benefits are critical in REDD because local communities could be excluded from REDD benefits if their land and forest access rights are not adequately addressed. In Cambodia, two REDD pilot projects: Community Forestry Carbon Offset Project (CFCOP) in Oddar Meanchey province and the Seima Protection Forest Project (SPF) in Mundulkiri province, are being implemented. This study aims to contribute to the development of an effective REDD mechanism in Cambodia by examining land and forest tenures and benefit sharing arrangements under the two REDD pilot projects in Cambodia. The paper employs concepts of discourse coalitions and rules of the game to explain tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements in the two projects. The study is based on literature review, analysis of key text documents and interviews with 19 respondents from government, civil society, donor community, community and private sector involved in the two REDD pilot projects and from outside. Results show that the two REDD pilot projects are being implemented in community forests and protection forests. In both projects, local communities are granted forest access rights. In addition, the projects have legitimized tenure rights of local communities in the project areas as provided for through the Land and Forestry Law in Cambodia. The study also indicates that revenues from carbon credits generated by the projects will be shared with the local communities. According to the Government Decision No.699, more than 50% of net revenues will be channeled to local communities in the CFCOP while the sharing of the revenues in the SPF is still under consideration. The study offers lessons that could guide other REDD projects in securing local communities’ forest access rights and their rights to benefits from forest conservation.

Titanium-mining group keeps company data under wraps

The head of United Khmer Group yesterday declined to disclose the names of “public” investors in a titanium mine he has said contains US$35 billion to $135 billion worth of deposits and refused to confirm the sums they had invested.

On Monday Chea Chet said public traders with more than 42 years of experience would provide the expertise to process ilmenite, an iron-titanium oxide used to produce titanium slag, at a 20,400 hectare site in Koh Kong province and ensure environmental protection procedures were implemented to safeguard the surrounding forests.

“These people, they are public traders. They come from offshore, they invest a lot of money and they already have a plan,” he said.

“So no matter what [opponents of the mine] try to do, it’s not going to stop our company or our government because we’ve prepared for the benefit and we prepare for the [environmental] effects.”

Yesterday Chea Chet also rebutted recent claims by officials and conservationists that his company had yet to commence exploration of the site, saying they had already started drilling but declined to produce a copy of the feasibility study.

“We’ve taken only 10 metres – it requires special tools like the other forms of mining; this one is only the surface, zero metres to 10 metres deep, so it is not that difficult,” he said yesterday, though he declined to confirm the precise location of the site.

But the conservation organisation Wildlife Alliance has provided a map which purportedly shows that the location of the concession precisely matches the coordinates of an earlier mining concession, one explored by the company Omsaura.

Omsaura’s feasibility study, conducted in June 2005, concluded that significantly lower amounts of ilmenite were likely to be found than United Khmer Group have claimed – just under 2.5 million as opposed to Chea Chet’s figure of 120 million tonnes.

Sowanna Gauntlett, country director of Wildlife Alliance, said yesterday that since 2002, eight companies had come to make studies of the site, but that none had commenced exploitation of the site. Gauntlett called for United Khmer Group to publish its findings.

“Right now, we finally discovered this is only an exploration permit.

“There are no findings yet, and if the company does have findings, then why don’t they publish it,” she said.

“And if they have big plans for that area, we need to be informed because we have big projects in eco-tourism and REDD sinks.”

Reduced Emissions From Deforestation permits allow heavily polluting companies in developed countries to offset atmospheric carbon emissions by paying for the protection of forests, which process the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen.

Gauntlett has previously said that the 144,000-hectare area of protected forest, worth between US$48 and $85 million, according to preliminary studies, would be doomed by the construction of a nearby mine.

Chea Chet’s estimation of the value of the deposits, which he puts at between $700 and $2,500 per tonne once processed into titanium slag, does not factor in capital expenditure required to process ore.

The highest price for titanium slag in China last month was US$670 per tonne.

Source: Phnom Penh Post (13th August 2010)

Terra Global Capital’s VCS Mosaic REDD Methodology Completes the First Validation

Developed by Terra Global Capital, LLC in partnership with Community Forestry International, the pioneering Mosaic REDD methodology submitted to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) has completed the first of two required validations. The methodology, designed to support the development of a REDD project in the Oddar Meanchey province of northwestern Cambodia, was supported by the Cambodia Forestry Administration, Pact, and the Children’s Development Association, with validation funding provided by the Clinton Climate Initiative. The quantification of carbon credits from mosaic-type REDD projects as developed in the methodology presents unique challenges. Mosaic REDD projects, by design, address situations where a complex set of deforestation drivers and agents interact. The methodology covers a broad set of applicability criteria and can be used for a number of REDD projects with deforestation drivers, including conversion of forest to farmland and settlements, logging, fuel wood collection, forest fires, economic land concessions and forest encroachment. “The methodology is expected to be broadly applicable where mosaic patterns of deforestation occur throughout Southeast Asia and Africa. The completion of this first validation after 18 months demonstrates the technical leadership and commitment of the Terra team and the methodology’s validator TÜV SÜD. The effort was worth it as it will reduce the development time for many REDD projects,” said Leslie Durschinger, Founder and Managing Director of Terra Global Capital. (Read More)

UN REDD Programme in Action

The UN-REDD Programme in Action video highlights the activities and value of the UN-REDD Programme at the national and global level, and includes interviews with representatives of the Programme, pilot and partner countries, donors and other REDD+ experts.

Conservation of Prey Long Forest Complex, Cambodia

By Schmidt, L. and Theilade, I. (2010). Conservation of Prey Long Forest Complex, Cambodia Working papers nr.50-2010. Forest & Landscape

Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries constitute some 20% of the total emissions of greenhouse gases annually. If we are to be serious in our efforts to combat climate change, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries must be addressed.

REDD projects has the potential to generate substantial benefits in addition to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These include positive impacts on biodiversity and sustainable development, including poverty reduction and strengthening indigenous people’s rights. The proposed REDD project seeks to provide the financial means to manage and conserve the last intact vestige of lowland rainforest in Cambodia. In doing so, the project aims to produce a triple dividend – gains for the climate, for biodiversity and for sustainable development in Cambodia.

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NCT to triple biofuel output in Cambodia

Cambodia’s NCT Jacam Energy Company plans to more than triple its production of biodiesel made from jatropha seeds by January next year, aiming for production of up to 2,000 litres per day.

Rising prices of traditional, petroleum-based diesel fuel in the Kingdom has resulted in growing demand for biofuels this year in order to help power the nation’s electricity generators, according to company president Chheuy Sophors.

The firm’s jatropha refinery in Kampong Speu province presently produces some 600 litres of fuel per day that fetches about 3,200 riels per litre from local consumers.

In comparison, petroleum-based diesel cost a minimum of 3,450 riels per litre at local markets yesterday, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.

“Jatropha farmers and owners of generators will have an opportunity to increase their income when we increase our biodiesel production,” Chheuy Sophors said.

Jatropha is a quick-growing tropical plant. Its seeds can be crushed to oil for biodiesel production.

It has potential to produce a large amount of energy compared to the area required to grow, compared to other fuel-producing crops, according to a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report issued earlier this year.

However, relatively little research has been done into the crop, and concerns remain about the toxicity of the plant’s seeds and the possibility that it may become an undesirable weed in certain growing conditions, according to the report.

NCT Jacam Energy Company first began daily production of 100 litres of biodiesel at its US$400,000 processing factory last October.

It does not own plantations, but instead purchases raw jatropha from farmers in Kampong Speu, Battambang, and Banteay Meachey for approximately $85 per tonne, Chheuy Sophors said.

Producing 1 kilogramme of biodiesel required three times the amount of unprocessed jatropha seed, he said, and added that the firm would require 6 tonnes of seed per day to meet its production goal of 2,000 litres.

“In three years, we hope that the company will be producing 5,000 litres of biodiesel per day as farmers grow the crop more and more,” he said.

Although NCT is ambitious in its expansion plans, other firms experimenting with the crop have experienced teething problems.

Mong Reththy Group has been growing the crop on 100 hectares in Steung Treng province since 2008, but company President Mong Reththy said yesterday that the firm had no plans to expand its plantation.

He said the plantation had encountered difficulties in recruiting workers to travel to the province, located more than 500 kilometres from Phnom Penh near the Laos border, a factor that stymied its growth plans.

The sector in Cambodia presently consists of three companies that produce between 100 and 500 litres of biodiesel per day, according to Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy.

Another 10 companies at least are studying the feasibility of producing the fuel in Cambodia.

The MIME secretary of state responsible for renewable energy said earlier this year that the government supported all biodiesel production because the fuels are more environmentally friendly than petroleum, and create jobs and economic activity.

Source: (20 July 2010)

Villagers protest mine plan

Hundreds of villagers and local officials have thumbprinted a petition protesting against a planned titanium mine in Koh Kong province, and plan to pass the document on to Prime Minister Hun Sen through local officials on Monday.

The petition, which has been signed by the chief of Chi Phat commune, four village chiefs and about 500 villagers, will today be handed to the Forestry Administration’s chief coastal inspector, Vann Sophanna, who has also voiced opposition to the project.

Penned by conservation group Wildlife Alliance, the petition argues that the mine – expected to extract a million tonnes of titanium ore – will drive away ecotourism revenue and ruin the area’s biodiversity through water pollution and deforestation.

“All mining is done with water, and this will basically poison the waterways and ruin the fish population, and of course it will poison the people, animals and kill ecotourism,” Suwanna Gauntlett, the country director of Wildlife Alliance, said yesterday.

At a community meeting and inspection of the site earlier this week, Vann Sophanna said he personally opposed the mine because its planned location overlapped with 144,000 hectares of protected forest and would impact local ecotourism projects.

“We need to keep this forest cover green, so we will report the worst negative impacts and explain them to the inter-ministerial committee so they can balance the interests of preserving natural resources and the benefits of the mining exploitation,” he said.

He added that the final decision rested with the prime minister, who he hoped would support the concerns expressed in the petition.

Neither the developer of the mine, United Khmer Group, nor relevant government ministries could be reached for comment yesterday.

According to Wildlife Alliance, United Khmer communicated on June 10 that it company would construct a quarry of between 20 and 200 metres in depth over a 15,000-to-20,000 hectare area to extract high-grade titanium.

If successful, the company said, Chinese companies would then construct another three or four mines covering an area of about 100,000 hectares in Koh Kong in addition to the first mine.
Consensus Economics, a macroeconomic survey firm, forecast in late 2009 that in June of this year titanium ilmenite ore would be worth US$95 per metric tonne, meaning the mine could contain deposits worth around $95 million.

But Vann Sophanna said the mine would also doom a potentially valuable carbon sink established under the UN and World Bank-backed Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme.

A preliminary survey by Wildlife Alliance and the Forestry Administration estimated such a scheme could be worth between $1.8 and 2.8 million per year in revenue to the government.
Under the REDD scheme, polluting companies in developed countries would pay the Cambodian government to protect 200,000 hectares of forest in Koh Kong to offset their own carbon emissions, with 40 percent of the revenue going back to the local community.

The mine area also intersects one of only seven remaining elephant corridors in Asia and is listed by Conservation International as one of 34 global biodiversity “hot spots”.

Source: (16 July 2010)

Forest official raises concern about the potential loss of the REDD scheme in Cambodia

A Forestry Administration official said yesterday that a massive titanium mine proposed for Koh Kong province would threaten natural resources and local livelihoods, and vowed to pass on his concerns to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Vann Sophana, in charge of the Forestry Administration’s Coastal Inspectorate, met with villagers in Thma Bang district who stand to be affected by the mine, which the NGO Wildlife Alliance has said would cover 15,000 to 20,000 hectares.

On Monday, Wildlife Alliance Country Director Suwanna Gauntlett said the mine would threaten 144,000 hectares of protected forest in the district, as well as ecotourism projects that support 150 families in Chi Pat commune.

She also said the mine would doom plans to implement a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme that NGOs and officials had been hoping to launch in 2011. The scheme allows polluting companies in developed countries to offset their carbon emissions by paying developing countries to protect forests.

After yesterday’s meeting, Vann Sophana indicated that he shared these concerns.

“Firstly, the area is overlapping with forests protected by Sub-decree No 65 of the Royal Government of Cambodia,” he said, and added that the project seemed to be in conflict with a government resolution declaring that mining poses a serious threat to forest coverage.

He also expressed concern about the potential loss of the REDD scheme, which Wildlife Alliance estimates could bring between US$48 million and $85 million of revenue to Cambodia over the next 30 years.

“If this mine happens, the REDD project will not happen,” Vann Sophana said. “The REDD project is very important because it protects natural resources while selling credits to developed industries – it is an industry with no smoke.”

During her presentation to villagers, Gauntlett said the United Khmer Group, which has reportedly obtained one of two required permits for the project, had informed her organisation that Chinese companies planned to build another three mines covering 100,000 hectares of nearby forest if the first mine proved successful.

Phorn Thou, representative of the United Khmer Group, said yesterday that his company had no intention of harming any villagers in the area.
“We want to reduce the poverty in that area, and we want to help them by giving them jobs,” he said. “Our goal is Khmer helping Khmer.”

Chi Pat commune chief Uy Iaiy and the chiefs of four separate villages were unified in their opposition to the mine. “With the mining company, I’m not sure if villagers can get a job there or not,” said Hot Pov, the chief of Teuk Laork village.

Source: (July 14, 2010)

Mine Plan Threatens REDD in Cambodia

The conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance yesterday criticised plans for the development of a titanium mine in Koh Kong province, saying the project would scare off ecotourism investors and derail implementation of a lucrative pollution-reduction scheme.

Suwanna Gauntlett, the group’s country director, said the United Khmer Group had recently obtained a permit from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy for the mine, which she said would cover 15,000 to 20,000 hectares in Thma Bang district.

“Now they need a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, but they’re ready to go. They’re building the roads already and redoing the bridges,” she said.

Company representative Phorn Thou confirmed his company intended to mine titanium in the province, but said no permits had been granted. “My company is in the process of mapping out the area,” he said.

Pech Siyon, director of the provincial Industry, Mines and Energy Department, said a concession for a titanium in the district had recently been granted, but he declined to name the company or give any other details.

Gauntlett said the mine would threaten 144,000 hectares of protected forest in the district, as well as ecotourism projects that support 150 families in Chi Pat commune. Her organisation, she said, had spent nearly US$600,000 developing community-based tourism projects there over the past nine years.

“If we had known about this mine about three years ago we would have never had invested all this money in this area,” she said.

She also said the mine would doom plans to implement a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme that NGOs and officials had been hoping to launch in 2011. The scheme allows polluting companies in developed countries to offset their carbon emissions by paying developing countries to protect forests. Wildlife Alliance believes it would generate at least several million dollars in revenue.

Vann Sophanna, chief of the Forestry Administration’s Coastal Inspectorate who is due to meet concerned Chi Pat villagers today, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Source: (July 13, 2010)

ADB to Invest in Greater Mekong Subregion, Clean Energy Fund

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest $15 million to support clean energy projects in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and South Asia through the Mekong Brahmaputra Clean Development Fund.

The fund will invest in companies engaged in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation and waste recycling projects. It expects to invest in at least 10 clean energy and environment projects by 2014.

Many people in the GMS and South Asia have no access to modern forms of energy. In 2008, 83% of households in Cambodia, 80% in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and over 50% in Viet Nam still used wood for fuel so it is critical to increase sustainable energy investments. The situation is often worse in South Asia.

At the same time, strong economic growth throughout Asia has already put substantial pressure on the region's resources and is straining the environment. Further development of carbon-based power generation capacity, such as coal and oil, needs to be carefully evaluated to ensure that access to energy does not come at the price of steadily increasing greenhouse gases, contributing to global climate change.

Experts have stressed the havoc that rising greenhouse gas emissions could wreak on livelihoods in Asia and the Pacific if left unchecked, and urged governments in this region and the rest of the world to find ways to halt or reverse climate change.

"Further economic development in the Greater Mekong Subregion and South Asia requires greater access to energy. We must help meet this demand for energy in a way that is sustainable and doesn't further damage the environment," said Philip Erquiaga, Director General of the Private Sector Operations Department at ADB.

The fund has a target size of $100 million and will be managed by Dragon Capital Clean Development Investments Ltd., a subsidiary of the Dragon Capital Group, which has longstanding experience in asset management in Viet Nam. Other investors in the fund include the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, and the Netherlands Development Finance Company.

"Private investors and financiers can play an extremely important role in the development of alternative sources of energy in Asia. We hope that ADB's participation in the fund will encourage other private-sector players to invest in clean energy projects that will generate both attractive rates of return and a cleaner, more environmentally sustainable future," said Mr. Erquiaga.

Source: (9 July 2010)

Katoomba XVII Conference in Vietnam 2010: PES and the development of REDD in Cambodia


Tom Clements has worked in international conservation for over 10 years. From 2002-2008 he was based in Cambodia for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as the lead advisor on large landscape-scale conservation projects, including development of market-linked mechanisms for conservation such as PES. Since 2008 he has worked regionally for WCS in South-east Asia on PES and the development of REDD, including work for the USAID TransLinks programme. He is currently the advisor to the Cambodian Government’s National REDD+ Readiness planning process.

Combining Multiple PES Markets - Tom Clements on Experiences in the Region and Beyond from Katoomba Group on Vimeo.

Kurt McLeod, Vice President for PACT for Asia and Eurasia, presents a comparative analysis of policy and implementation approaches across Southeast Asia

Forest Carbon and REDD Architecture: Kurt McLeod on policy and implementation approaches across Southeast Asia from Katoomba Group on Vimeo.

The UN-REDD Programme’s recent workshop in Viet Nam on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is a rights-based principle representing a particular expression of the right to self-determination, related rights to land, territories and natural resources, the right to culture, and the right to be free from racial discrimination. FPIC applies to key decision points for actions that have the potential to impact the land, territories, and resources upon which rights holders depend for their cultural, spiritual and physical sustenance, well-being and survival, and is of particular relevance to future REDD+ activities.

A recent interview with Tim Boyle (UN-REDD Regional Technical Advisor), Nina Kancheva and Elspeth Halverson (UN-REDD consultants) on the UN-REDD Programme’s recent workshop in Viet Nam on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

Moving the REDD Debate from Theory to Practice: Lessons Learned from the Ulu Masen Project

By Clarke, R.A. (2010). Law, Environment & Development Journal (Full Article)

As the dust settles after Copenhagen and the barriers to reaching global consensus on combating climate change are put into stark relief, REDD still has potential to become a UNFCCC success story. In relation to REDD, there is agreement on many core issues and significant momentum remains towards a REDD mechanism firmly engrained in the post-2012 climate change framework. Yet most debate occurs in the abstract with policy and methodological decisions made with minimal conception of how these issues will play out in REDD participant countries. This article aims to break this trend and takes a prominent REDD pilot activity as its reference point. The Ulu Masen Project in Aceh , Indonesia , while only in its infancy, provides valuable lessons on legal frameworks, benefit-sharing and financing. Through analysis of UNFCCC negotiations on REDD and an examination of how relevant issues have been addressed in the Ulu Masen Project, the article aims to contribute to a more grounded, practical debate on a future UNFCCC REDD mechanism.

Case Studies on Measuring and Assessing Forest Degradation Global Mapping and Monitoring the Extent of Forest Alteration: The Intact Forest Landscapes

The paper describes the Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL) Method and presents results of its use for a global baseline assessment of the extent of forest alteration along with several examples of regional-level monitoring. The extent of forest alteration (understood in this context as a reduction in ecological integrity across a forest landscape) was measured at the global, biome and national levels based on the distribution and proportion of IFL areas. A detailed boundary between ‘intact’ and ‘non-intact’ forest landscapes was established and used as a baseline. The IFL method represents a practical, rapid, and cost-effective approach for assessing forest intactness, alteration and degradation at the global and regional scales.

In the context of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), IFLs are strongly associated with issues of permanence, biodiversity, and indigenous peoples. Countries that wish to make an early commitment under REDD that is capable of being monitored, verified, and reported may therefore find that the IFL Method offers interesting opportunities. The method can be elaborated to also measure the depth or intensity of forest alteration. It thus represents an approach that should be of interest to FAO’s Forest Resources Assessment, for example for monitoring of forest degradation.

Download Full Paper Click Here.

Snake prices and crocodile appetites: Aquatic wildlife supply and demand on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

By Sharon E. Brooks, Edward H. Allison, Jennifer A. Gill and John D. Reynolds. Biological Conservation (2010)

Commercial trade is a major driver of over-exploitation of wild species, but the pattern of demand and how it responds to changes in supply is poorly understood. Here we explore the markets for snakes from Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia to evaluate future exploitation scenarios, identify entry points for conservation and, more generally, to illustrate the value of multi-scale analysis of markets to traded wildlife conservation. In Cambodia, the largest driver of snake exploitation is the domestic trade in snakes as crocodile food. We estimate that farmed crocodiles consume between 2.7 and 12.2 million snakes per year. The market price for crocodiles has been in decline since 2003, which, combined with rising prices for their food, has led to a reduced frequency of feeding and closure of small farms. The large farms that generate a disproportionate amount of the demand for snakes continue to operate in anticipation of future market opportunities, and preferences for snakes could help maintain demand if market prices for crocodiles rise to pre 2003 levels. In the absence of a sustained demand from crocodile farms, it is also possible that alternative markets will develop, such as one for human snack food. The demand for snakes, however, also depends on the availability of substitute resources, principally fish. The substitutability and low price elasticity of demand offers a relatively sustainable form of consumerism. Given the nature of these market drivers, addressing consumer preferences and limiting the protection of snakes to their breeding season are likely to be the most effective tools for conservation. This study highlights the importance of understanding the structure of markets and the behaviour of consumer demand prior to implementing regulations on wildlife hunting and trade.

The History of REDD Policy from Kyoto to Copenhagen

Globally, deforestation accounts for up to 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, or about 5.8 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent released into the atmosphere, each year. This is more than global transport and aviation combined. According to the Stern Review, reducing deforestation is the “single largest opportunity for cost-effective and immediate reductions of carbon emissions”. This is where REDD – otherwise known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation – comes in. REDD is the idea of creating an international framework to halt deforestation. In addition, the mechanism could help fight poverty while conserving biodiversity and sustaining vital ecosystem services. Exactly what REDD is defined as, and what the elements of the framework will be, is scheduled to be decided at the forthcoming UNFCCC Conference(s) of the Parties. Herewith is a comprehensive summary of the History of REDD Policy, from it’s roots in the Kyoto Protocol to the final meetings of the AWGs and SBSTA before COP15 begins in Copenhagen in December 2009. (Source:

Second East Asia Climate Forum Discusses Green Growth

The Second East Asia Climate Forum convened on 16 June 2010, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, to provide a forum for dialogue on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in East Asia and for turning the challenges of climate change into sustainable economic opportunities. The Forum was an opportunity for high-level officials from Asian countries, experts from international organizations, think tanks and other stakeholders to discuss various issues related to low-carbon green growth. Sessions at the Forum addressed: green growth in the Republic of Korea; new paradigms for economic and social development; implementing green growth and energy issues; adaptation and water issues; and promoting international cooperation for green growth. During the Forum, the Republic of Korea launched the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to undertake research on shifting towards low-carbon economies.

His Excellency Sam Noun Khong, Secretary of State at Ministry of Environment of Cambodia, described his government’s green-growth roadmap, financed by Korea in cooperation with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and involves public consultations to develop a national strategy that includes services for human capital development.


Forestry changes planned for Siem Reap province, Cambodia

(Photo: Forestry Administration Building in Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Forestry officials plan to carve out three new administrative zones in the northwest in a bid to ramp up efforts against illegal logging, the director of the Forestry Administration said Sunday.

Chheng Kim Son said he has asked the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for permission to split the existing Siem Reap cantonment into three separate jurisdictions covering Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey provinces. Currently, oversight in the three areas falls under the same umbrella, leaving officials struggling to cover one of the administration’s largest cantonments, Chheng Kim Son said.

“We will change it from one large jurisdiction into three smaller ones,” he said. “[Officials] can move and monitor their jurisdictions faster and more effectively with a smaller area.”

He added that the potential change was part of a broader strategy to implement an ongoing crackdown on illegal logging.

“We will reform our work in order to govern well and make it easier to control illegal logging activities, because in the past, it was very difficult for us to govern” such a large area, he said.

Chheng Kim Son said he was unsure when the change would be enacted, and that he had not received a response to a proposal sent to the ministry. Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun could not be reached for comment Sunday.

If approved, the move would increase the number of forestry cantonments – subdivisions falling under the administration’s four broad
inspectorates – to 17.

Under the spotlight

Chheng Kim Son was thrust to the forefront of the government’s public campaign against illegal logging in April, after Prime Minister Hun Sen sacked his predecessor, Ty Sokun, over concerns that insufficient steps had been taken to eradicate the practice. Since then, it has been unclear what specific changes Chheng Kim Son planned to implement in the role.

On Sunday, some observers working in the affected areas said the decision to split the Siem Reap cantonment into more manageable jurisdictions was a good move.

“[Forestry officials] will be closer to the ground, and they can communicate faster with each other,” said Srey Naren, the coordinator in Oddar Meanchey for local rights group Adhoc.

“When their main office is in Siem Reap province, officials have to spend more money and more time to get from one place to another. When they stay in one smaller jurisdiction, their effectiveness will be better.”

Srey Naren went on to say that several much-publicised crackdowns on illegal logging across the country appear to be having some effect. “Logging is still continuing, but it is less than before along the border” with Thailand, he said.

However, he warned that some local government officials are among those profiting from corrupt logging practices. “Local authorities are deforesting a huge portion of the forest area,” he said.

“We are concerned about this. It is reported in meetings, but so far there has been no action to punish these officials.”

Few prosecutions

Court officials in other parts of the country say they are making efforts to prosecute those implicated in illegal logging.

In Ratanakkiri, the provincial court director said Sunday that he had summoned various forestry officials for questioning with regard to roughly 45 illegal logging cases. Lu Susambath said he plans to ask the officials why no arrests have been made in connection with any of the cases.

“We have only seen wood taken as evidence sent to the courthouses, while no wood vendors or businessmen have been arrested,” said Lu Susambath, who declined to name the officials he had called for questioning.

In Preah Vihear province, court officials reported last week that authorities had enacted 20 illegal logging raids so far this year, but that none of the cases had led to prosecutions.

Court officials in Koh Kong last week said they plan to question two forestry officials who are suspected of involvement in an illegal logging operation.

Observers such as Bunra Seng, the country director of the NGO Conservation International, say the crackdowns still appear to be having some effect, even if few prosecutions have resulted from them.

But he also said that authorities need to focus on addressing the fact that a robust consumer demand for illegal timber is helping to drive the covert industry.

“The government has to find a way to reduce or stop market demand” for illegal timber, he said.

“In this case, people find many ways in order to transport the timber because the price is very high.”

Source: Phnom Penh Post (14 June 2010)

The Incidence of Fire in Amazonian Forests with Implications for REDD

By Luiz E. O. C. Aragão and Yosio E. Shimabukuro. (2010). Science.Vol. 328. no. 5983, pp. 1275 - 1278

Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) may curb carbon emissions, but the consequences for fire hazard are poorly understood. By analyzing satellite-derived deforestation and fire data from the Brazilian Amazon, we show that fire occurrence has increased in 59% of the area that has experienced reduced deforestation rates. Differences in fire frequencies across two land-use gradients reveal that fire-free land-management can substantially reduce fire incidence by as much as 69%. If sustainable fire-free land-management of deforested areas is not adopted in the REDD mechanism, then the carbon savings achieved by avoiding deforestation may be partially negated by increased emissions from fires.

Realising Rights, Protecting Forests: An Alternative Vision for Reducing Deforestation

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The Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change is a network of southern and northern NGOs representing around 100 civil society and Indigenous Peoples' organizations from 38 countries, formed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Accra, Ghana in 2008. The Caucus works to place the rights of indigenous and forest communities at the centre of negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), and to ensure that efforts to reduce deforestation promote good governance and are not a substitute for emission reductions in industrialised countries. In this report the Caucus proposes an alternative vision for achieving the objective of reducing deforestation, arguing for policies and actions that would tackle the drivers of deforestation, rather than focusing exclusively on carbon. Drawing on case studies from organisations with experience of working with forest communities, the report highlights problems linked to the implementation of REDD and suggests ways in which policies to reduce deforestation can actually work on the ground. Through case studies from selected countries the report highlights three critical components: full and effective participation (Indonesia, Ecuador, Democratic Republic of Congo); secured and equitable land rights (Brazil, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea) and community-based forest management (Tanzania, Nepal).

Vietnam: Why REDD+ Needs Local People

With much of Vietnam’s forest area already actively managed by local people, and given Vietnam’s early engagement in REDD+ readiness initiatives, the country is emerging as a global leader in community-led climate change mitigation in the forest sector. To do so, however, a number of critical issues still need to be addressed. Here we outline why the active engagement of local communities and indigenous peoples is so crucial, and what challenges still need to be overcome. We then summarize the critical actions required to ensure the future success of Vietnam’s REDD+ program.

Forests and climate change after Copenhagen: An Asia-Pacific perspective

The report, titled "Forests and climate change after Copenhagen - An Asia-Pacific perspective," outlines 12 questions addressed by a meeting of the REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries) Learning Network, which took place on 3 February 2010, in Bali, Indonesia. The meeting's questions included, inter alia: progress on REDD given a lack of binding emission reductions targets from COP 15; funding mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), including the voluntary market; approaches to ensure engagement of local stakeholders; REDD+ and the potential for forest governance reform; operationalization of REDD+ and REDD+ readiness; and ways for local stakeholders to benefit from carbon markets.

Corruption could undermine REDD

Tenure right and benefit sharing arrangement for REDD: a case study of Carbon Forestry Program in Oddar Meanchey, CambodiaBy (June 03, 2010)

With four billion US dollars pledged last week to kick-start the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), a new report by Global Witness warns that the funds could do little to stem deforestation if governance and accountability are not improved and corruption tackled. The REDD program provides funds to tropical nations to keep forests standing as a means to sequester carbon.

"Protecting forests will be absolutely crucial to mitigating climate change, but past experience tells us that without transparent and effective governance and effective independent monitoring, money will fail to solve the problem," explains Laura Furones of Global Witness in a press release. "REDD carries considerable risks for forests and local communities and will only succeed if civil society is engaged as an independent watchdog."

To deal with problems of governance and corruption, Global Witness recommends creating a systems for independent monitoring in its new briefing Principles for Independent Monitoring of REDD (IM-REDD). The briefing lays out 10 key principles for REDD to succeed, including program independence from national officials and private companies, an official mandate from participating nations for those monitoring progress, unhindered access to forest sites, open access to information, and a right to publish any findings. The report warns that unless these basic steps are implemented into the REDD agreement, corruption and abuse will wreck the program.

"It is now widely accepted that for forest reform to be effective, it must be independently monitored," said Ms. Furones. "This report takes the lessons from over 10 years' work in the field on forest governance. It outlines what needs to happen when promises leave the conference halls and hit the ground. Effective monitoring will be critical for the scheme's credibility."

Deforestation in the tropics contributes between 12-17 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Stopping deforestation is considered by many policy makers to be the quickest and cheapest way to mitigate global climate change. A well-implemented REDD program could also protect biodiversity, sustain forests for indigenous groups, and preserve numerous ecosystem services from pollination to clean water to erosion. However, the negotiations are complex and some environmentalists fear that REDD will be usurped by industrial and government interests at the expense of forest preservation or that the program undercut the rights of indigenous people.

REDD threatens rights of 350 million local people

Last week the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program received a jump start with a four billion US dollar pledge from a number of industrialized nations. Under REDD tropical forest nation will be paid to keep forests standing, however the program—as it currently stands—has provoked concern over the rights of the some 350 million people living in or adjacent to forests.

The Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change, a coalition of some 100 organizations from 38 countries, has released a report outlining an alternative vision of REDD that would uphold the rights of local and indigenous people while protecting forests.

"When forest-dependent communities gain control over forest resources, they are best at protecting them against destruction by others. Providing REDD funding to industrial logging or strict nature conservation programs that do not respect local peoples’ rights and usages of the forest could be counter-productive, and fuel conflict and poverty," explains Nat Dyer of the Rainforest Foundation UK, which is a member of the coalition making up the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change.

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Seima REDD Demonstration Project in Cambodia

The Seima Protection Forest (SPF) demonstration project, the first REDD-based wildlife protection, is the second REDD project which was officially declared by the Council of Ministers in Cambodia. The REDD pilot project was launched in mid 2008 with the collaboration between Forestry Administration (FA) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The project aims to expand and improve law enforcement activities, to register existing communities land claim, and to provide incentive for communities to protect forests. According to the feasibility study by Winrock International, the project was highly feasible and that even under a conservative scenario would avoid millions of tons of carbon emissions. It is estimated that 1.5 tone of CO2 will be sequestrated over the 5 years period 2008-2012 if 50 % of deforestation is decreased in the project area. Even at a low carbon price of US$5 per ton in the voluntary market, it is conservatively estimated US$5.4 million of revenues. However, the project design document (PDD) is under preparation and it is hoped to finish later this year after some further survey, analysis and consultation with the stakeholders.The project is expected to submit for verification by the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) in 2010.