Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through Alternative Landuses in Rainforests of the Tropics




How do you link global policy with local incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation?

How can national-level rewards overcome the many local-level pressures that lead to deforestation, including the need to produce food and fuelwood, and develop economies?

REDD-ALERT is an FP7 EU project lead by the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen and involving 12 partner institutions from EU and tropical countries, linking with the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins.


An estimated 13 million hectares of tropical forest are destroyed each year, resulting in the emission of 5.8 Gt (gigatonnes) of CO2 annually, about 20% of total human-caused emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs). The drivers of this destruction are many and varied, but generally include a combination of commercial wood extraction, permanent cultivation, livestock development, and the extension of overland transport infrastructure. Currently, this 20% of emissions is not addressed by an international instrument for governing climate change.

In December 2009, parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will discuss a mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries, which would reward countries that reduce their rate of deforestation and enhance carbon stocks in forest areas. This proposed mechanism is referred to as REDD-plus.

Although the international community has mostly embraced the concept of REDD-plus, the specifics of the mechanism are still being negotiated. Once a REDD-plus deal is in place, national policy makers will need to be able to design policies and incentives to influence patterns of land use change on the ground. This will require a clear understanding of the drivers of land use change, carbon stocks and changes, policy options, and local stakeholder perspectives and preferences. The REDD-ALERT project aims to generate this data in four countries and work with national stakeholders to link this knowledge to practical action.

Active 'negotiation support' will be needed to achieve the 'free and prior informed consent' that is seen as a moral imperative to agreements potentially affecting the livelihoods of people outside of the centres of political power. This project aims to make a significant contribution to the evaluation of mechanisms that translate international-level agreements into instruments that will help change the behaviour of the people on the 'front-line' while minimising adverse repercussions on their livelihoods.


Objectives of the REDD-ALERT project

  1. Documenting the diversity in social, cultural, economic and ecological drivers of forest transition and conservation and the consequences, in case study areas in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cameroon and Peru (representative of different stages of forest transition).
  2. Quantifying rates of forest conversion and change in forest carbon stocks.
  3. Improving accounting (methods, default values) of the consequences of land use change for GHG emissions in tropical forest margins including peatlands.
  4. Identifying and assessing viable policy options addressing the drivers of deforestation and their consistency with approaches on avoided deforestation currently being discussed in UNFCCC and other international processes.
  5. Analysing scenarios in selected case study areas of the local impacts of potential international climate change policies on GHG emission reductions, land use and livelihoods.
  6. Developing new negotiation support tools and using these with stakeholders at international, national and local scales to explore a suite of options for incorporating REDD into post-2012 climate agreements.

Click here for Project brochure [pdf ]