How Can Forest Conservation Benefit People? New Report Shares Lessons from Around the World

Written by Erin Myers Madeira on . Posted in Learn, The Wonk Room

The Nature Conservancy is hosting a luncheon and forum in Washington D.C. this Friday, Nov. 9 at 12:45 p.m. to share the major findings of a new report, “Sharing the Benefits of REDD+: Lessons from the Field,” and to hear from other experts who work on these issues.

If you are interested in attending Friday’s event, email Lisa Schindler, the Conservancy’s Climate Coordinator for more information. The program will follow lunch from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Through our policy and on-the-ground work, The Nature Conservancy is focused on contributing to forest-friendly economic development in the countries and jurisdictions where we work, as well as enhancing the well-being of community members and Indigenous Peoples by ensuring their participation in land-use decisions, supporting low-carbon economic opportunities and helping to strengthen their land rights.

The suite of policies and actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation and simultaneously contribute to rural development goals is known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation or (REDD+). The role of organizations that strategically distribute resources to achieve conservation and natural resource management goals, are at the heart of the new report titled, “Sharing the Benefits of REDD+: Lessons from the Field.”

The report addresses the following questions:

  • What can we learn from natural resource management and benefit sharing mechanisms for REDD+?
  • How can investments in REDD+ benefit people now?
  • How can tropical forest countries meet dual goals of conserving forests and increasing economic development?

In this report, (download here), a team of experts in forest conservation and rural development  examined how upfront investments in REDD+ can deliver meaningful benefits to people in the near-term, before programs are fully up and running.

Examples of these benefits are securing stakeholders’ access to resources and land, empowering communities to participate in land-use decisions, creating new “green” enterprises that are economically sustainable, and shifting towards low-carbon practices in existing industries.  These benefits are real and measurable, and are independent from performance-based payments that may come once a program is fully implemented, for example from monetizing emissions reductions that result from avoiding clearing of forests.

The report includes case studies of ten existing natural resource management and benefit sharing programs, and identifies the five key factors that must be considered when designing any successful natural resource management program, drawing lessons for REDD+.

The report examines the full set of opportunities to generate benefits through all phases of developing, demonstrating and implementing a REDD+ program. Further, it examines how actors’ interests at all levels can be aligned — from individual landholders to private firms to state and federal governments — to achieve forest-friendly development.

Erin Myers Madeira is a forest carbon senior policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy and lead author of the new report, Sharing the Benefits of REDD+: Lessons from the Field.

Featured photo © Jez O’Hare (Community outreach in Lore Lindu National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia).

Thumbnail photo © Ami Vitale (A cacao pod in Costa Rica is broken open to reveal the ripe seeds inside that are used to make chocolate.)

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