GREED was supposed to be a virtue on stopping deforestation and mitigating climate change. Okay, that’s a bit harsh. Studies put it that under the efforts of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd) program was to answer both the need—and the greed—of governments, private corporations, and forest-dependent communities for cash.
The United Nations was supposed to create a financial value under Redd for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
“Redd+” goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. That means to save forests by selling the carbon they embody, harnessing the profit motive for the benefit of trees and climate.
Net greenhouse gas emissions due to tropical deforestation and forest degradation are about 8 to 15 percent of the global total. A recent study in Nature Climate Change found that stopping deforestation could be a huge piece of the climate solution. That’s because if tropical deforestation stopped, not only would those emissions go away, but on top of that, forests would start stowing away a significant part of the carbon from our fossil fuel emissions.
“One could reduce total CO2 emissions by about 30 percent, just working in the land sector,” said Phil Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center. “And that’s a lot.”
Moreover, stopping deforestation could buy precious time to ratchet down fossil fuel emissions. “It’s very hard to suddenly convert everyone to electric cars, and power generation is gradually changing, but it’s going to take decades,” said Paul Salaman, CEO of the Rainforest Trust. “But tropical deforestation can literally be stopped point blank with commitment of countries.”
In Negros Occidental, the trade-off is supposedly to stop agricultural activities from encroaching into mountain tropical rainforests. Fortunately for the forests, sugar prices continue to fluctuate that land use conversions into sugarcane monocultures are not worth the return on investments.
However, the province has no Redd programs. And the encroachments of illegal structures within the Northern Negros Natural Park seem to prove that Redd is less lucrative than say mountain tourism resorts. Too bad there is no Redd programs that could have provided an economic alternative for mountain forest players.
Still, researches are turning out that appeals to turn standing forests as commodities seemed headed to failure. A new paper in Conservation Biology concludes in its opening sentence, “Redd+ is dead; it’s time to cut our losses and move on.”
On Palawan, in the Philippines, the research said “after decades of integrated conservation and development projects, the prospect of implementing a comprehensive, community-based Redd+ program has slowed considerably, with both NGOs and local peoples waiting for funding.” Quo vadis, Redd?