January 23, 2013

Another Look at REDD with a Landscape Lens

As noted yesterday on the Landscapes Blog, this week marks the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Though biodiversity is the focal point, there is a host of other benefits from nature that are related, including climate regulation. We tackled the intersection of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) and agriculture following the UN climate negotiations, but the discussion of the topic continues, and includes many elements of a landscape approach.

From the CGIAR Consortium, Going from Red to Green: the Landscape Approach highlighted how a “unified approach” can better manage trade-offs between multiple objectives of food security, energy, economic development, conservation, etc. As Ravi Prabhu of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) notes, people “don’t live under a tree, they live in an integrated landscape.” Particularly for carbon measurement, consideration for the full mosaic of a landscape is critical, but also provides these other benefits. REDD+ is seen as one of the ways to promote the needed cross-sectoral collaboration, but progress on solidifying international agreement on a REDD program was stalled at the recent UN climate negotiations over the issue of verifying emissions reductions and the means through which to compensate for them.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) also made the case for an integrated landscape approach in the article Three Stepping Stones Towards Integrating Forests into Landscape PlanningArguing that the outcomes of Doha made it clear that REDD+ needs to move away from being a forest sector issue, the article cited an ODI study, Unlocking Progress on REDD+: Sector Coordination in UgandaThe study demonstrated how the energy and agriculture sectors hold much more sway in decisions about land use. It also outlined steps forward including: build a better understanding of the benefits forests provide to sectors concerned with food security, water, and public health; make technical aspects (tools, technology, policy) uniform across sectors; and change what donors are willing to fund.

There are understandably many steps needed to better align compensation for climate regulation services with agricultural production, but the elevated level of discourse of late is encouraging. Tony Simons, Director General of ICRAF, provides a short synopsis below of the value of a whole landscapes approach beyond REDD.

Photo credit: Douglas Sheil (CIFOR); Video credit: ICRAF
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