Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)
Today, forests are widely recognised for many environmental services they provide to society. But when they are destroyed or degraded forests can become a major emitter of greenhouse gases such as CO2.
Deforestation and forest degradation, particularly in the tropics, contribute up to 20% of global carbon emissions, and have negative impacts on biodiversity, local communities and indigenous peoples, sustainable long-term economic growth, air quality and other environmental and socio-economic goods and services.
When carbon emissions from deforestation are taken into account, both Brazil and Indonesia leap into the top 10 of the world's major polluters.
Forests are also impacted by climate change - rising temperatures make forests drier, more susceptible to fires, and vulnerable to pests and diseases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that at least a third of the world’s remaining forests may be adversely affected by changing climate.
Reducing forest-based emissionsReducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and the conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (called REDD+) hold a great deal of promise as a way to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. WWF’s goal is zero net emissions from deforestation and forest degradation by 2020 – which means we are working to ensure that forests are a key part of tackling climate change. Because forests are valuable for much more than the carbon they store, REDD+ must also benefit people and nature.
Countries need to develop national frameworks to tackle forest-based emissions. There must be sufficient resources provided to address the drivers of deforestation. Developed countries must help by providing resources, including technology transfer. And provision must be made to ensure that as countries with high deforestation rates implement REDD+ initiatives, countries which up till now have low deforestation do not begin to cut their forests. These countries should be given incentives to protect their forests as they are likely to face increasing pressure to deforest to meet demand for forest products.
What is REDD+?
Paying to keep forests standing
Boosting forest defences against climate changeForests need to be kept healthy so they can maintain their biodiversity and environmental services, including carbon storage. This includes boosting forests' resilience and resistance to climate change by for example:
- avoiding forest fragmentation;
- improving forest connectivity;
- preventing conversion to high-intensity forestry and encouraging sustainable use;
- maintaining natural disturbance regimes such as fires;
- actively managing invasive species; and
- maximising the size of the forest management unit.