Protecting natural forests: the importance of the REDD+ mechanism

Protecting natural forests: the importance of the REDD+ mechanism

June 25, 2020

Avoiding deforestation, creating the basis for life

A research report from May 2020 paints a bleak picture of our forests: according to scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, USA, forests worldwide are increasingly made up of young and small trees. The number of old and large trees, on the other hand, is decreasing, which has a variety of negative effects on the microclimate and macroclimate, biodiversity and the forests´ ability to store carbon.

This global trend that had been going on over the past decades is set to continue in the future, according to the research team. The main cause for this - in addition to the consequences of climate change with rising temperatures, increasing drought, forest fires and infestation by insects and fungi – is deforestation.

Deforestation and permanent land-use changes, which include agriculture and livestock farming, account for a total of 23 percent of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions registered worldwide since 1961. In Brazil alone, a country with the highest rates of deforestation and clearing, these activities accounted for 69 percent of all national emissions in 2018.

To specifically counteract this development, climate protection measures that focus on the protection of existing forests are important. A key mechanism for this is the United Nations' 2008 REDD+ mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).

REDD+ aims to avoid carbon emissions associated with deforestation. Instead of making money by cutting down trees, their preservation and protection should instead be the basis for new business models and the local population's livelihood: carbon offsetting certificates, so-called carbon credits, can be generated by preventing deforestation and preserving existing forests. By marketing them, forests become economically more attractive than other forms of land use. The proceeds from the sale of the carbon credits are in turn invested in the conservation of the forest, in the sustainable management of its resources and in prospects for the local population, such as new jobs and education, which closes the circle.

Forest conservation not only contributes to reducing carbon emissions. It also protects hydrographic basins, stabilises rainfall systems and has a positive impact on biodiversity and local communities. Moreover, the biodiversity preserved by forests is a source of a wide range of resources which, if well managed, can secure future jobs and an income for millions of people.

Many of our carbon offset projects that deal with this kind of forest conservation work with the REDD+ mechanism, such as the forest conservation in Madre de Dios, Peru project or forest conservation in Portel, Brazil. They also comply with the highest quality certification standards such as VCS and CCBS Gold Level Standards.

From autumn 2020, we will be able to offer regional participation projects for tree planting to our customers again. With these, companies can also highlight their commitment to the regional environment and contribute to strengthening existing forests. Further details and dates are available here. Companies that are committed to carbon offsetting in general and to the preservation of our forests can make a valuable contribution by supporting these projects.