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Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)

This page provides resources on the issue of "REDD - Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries", "avoided deforestation", and "REDD+" ("REDD Plus").

Tropical rainforests are estimated to contain roughly 25% of all the carbon in our terrestrial biosphere. (PDF)).
Tropical rainforest in developing Africa.
Achieving the international goal of avoiding a further increase in global temperatures of more than 2°C above today's levels (thereby avoiding potentially dangerous interference with our climate system) cannot be achieved, organizations like the Global Canopy Programme argue, without a post-Kyoto international climate agreement that focuses on protecting existing carbon sinks by avoiding tropical deforestation. (See The Little REDD+ Book (PDF)) The REDD framework is a mechanism initially proposed at the 2005 COP 11 meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, which aims to reduce the global greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and degradation of forests, by providing economic incentives to rainforest nations to keep their tropical forests intact. At the upcoming COP 15 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December of 2009 in Copenhagen (Denmark) , nations will negotiate a new treaty to address international climate change that may include a REDD framework.


Background on REDD

Chart from the 2007a IPCC climate change assessment report that shows the contribution by sector to total anthropogenic GHG emissions in 2004, in terms of CO2 equivalent. The label "Forestry" in this breakdown includes global deforestation, and accounts for 17.4% of total annual GHG emissions. Source (PDF File)
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted "that reducing and/or preventing deforestation is the mitigation option with the largest and most immediate carbon stock impact in the short term per hectare and per year globally".[1] REDD provides strategies and incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation as a key mechanism for international governments and partners to address global warming. [2] (PDF file)
  • According to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, deforestation and forest degradation are estimated to account for 17 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. [3] The IPCC finds that deforestation for agriculture and other land uses "results in immediate release of the carbon originally stored in the trees as CO2 emissions (with small amounts of CO and CH4), particularly if the trees are burned and the slower release of emissions from the decay of organic matter". [4] Each year, approximately 13 million hectares of land is deforested (1990-2005 data). [5]

Background on "REDD Plus" (REDD+)

  • "REDD+" (REDD Plus) refers to "Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, conservation of existing carbon stocks and enhancement of carbon stocks" (PDF file)
  • While reducing global forest loss from deforestation and degradation would result in a decrease in further emissions of carbon into the atmosphere, leaving growing forests intact should also increase the removal of carbon already in the atmosphere, a process known as carbon sequestration. The REDD+ proposed mechanism is a new development in the REDD strategizing process designed "to support the voluntary efforts of developing country Parties to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, [to promote] conservation and the sustainable management of forests, and...[to enhance] forest carbon stocks." (PDF)


Silky sifaka lemurs (Propithecus candidus) live in the remaining northeastern rainforest fragments of Madagascar. This rare lemur's rainforest habitat is shrinking each year due to illegal logging and agricultural pressures. REDD+ could propose economic incentives for avoiding deforestation and degradation of tropical forests in developing countries like Madagascar.


  • Exactly how nations will agree to a system of emissions reductions that would finance REDD and channel compensation for avoided deforestation to developing countries in an effective, fair and transparent way remains to be decided.
  • Some environmental groups argue that REDD does not sufficiently address conservation, and is too limited in its focus only on tropical forests. The Wild Foundation acknowledges that, while important, REDD is only "a partial approach: it only addresses incentives for conservation in tropical forests, so it does not maximize the carbon sequestration potential of natural systems worldwide - nor their social and biodiversity benefits." [6]

"REDD+" (REDD Plus)

  • "REDD+" (REDD Plus),The Wild Foundation encourages, "draws attention to the huge potential of carbon sequestration through wilderness protection." [7]


See books, reports, scientific papers, position papers and websites for additional useful resources.

  • Forest Carbon Portal Forest Carbon Portal is an "information clearinghouse on terrestrial carbon. The Forest Carbon Portal tracks news, resources, events and nearly 100 forest carbon projects around the world. This new version offers a more interactive site where users can create profiles in the member directory; join discussions in ‘Carbon Connections’; comment on articles; as well as upload projects, resources, events and job opportunities."




  • 1 June 2009, Bonn, Germany: A Better Way of Dealing with Degradation, side event on degradation and community-based approaches for measuring carbon stocks by the K:TGAL project at the UNFCCC climate talks.
  • 1-12 June 2009, Bonn, Germany: Thirtieth sessions of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies.
  • 14-15 June 2009, Montreux, Switzerland: UN-REDD 2nd Policy Board Meeting


Note: See also REDD-related news at REDD-Monitor's "REDD-in-the-news" page'

International net loss and net gain in 'forest' by country for the period 1990-2005 (modified from the World Resources Institute)


  • Indonesia puts moratorium on new forest clearing, 27 May 2010 by Reuters: "Indonesia will place a two-year moratorium on new concessions to clear natural forests and peatlands under a deal signed with Norway aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, the government said in a statement."
    • Under a bilateral agreement, "Norway will invest $1 billion in forest conservation projects in Indonesia."
    • "The suspension would encourage the development of new plantations 'on degraded lands rather than vulnerable forests and peatlands'."
    • "Palm oil firms such as Wilmar and Indofood Agri Resources have big expansion plans in Indonesia, already the largest producer of an oil used to make everything from biscuits to soap."
    • "Part of Norway's $1 billion will be spent on creating monitoring systems and pilot projects under a U.N.-backed forest preservation scheme called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)."
    • "REDD allows developing nations to earn money by not chopping down their trees and preserving carbon-rich peatlands, seen as key to slowing climate change because forests soak up huge amounts of greenhouse gases."[13]
  • Rainforests Lose Out in Senate's New Climate Bill, 18 May 2010 by Time: "The climate bill passed by the House of Representatives last June set an ambitious goal of conserving the carbon trapped in forests equal to 10% of U.S. emissions, and in doing so, set aside 5% of total emissions allowance value from carbon auctions, which could bring $3 to $5 billion a year, to the protection of forests in developing nations."
    • "But while the Kerry-Lieberman bill in the Senate has the same broad goal for conserving forests, it devotes no specific funds to stopping deforestation."
    • "The Senate bill also excludes private sector investment in rainforest conservation for the next 10 years. Under the House bill, private companies that invest in rainforest offsets — paying to keep trees standing in tropical countries — could generally claim credits against their carbon cap. Under the Senate bill, they won't be able to do so, for the most part, unless tropical nations already have a national or state-level deforestation cap in place, which will likely take years to develop."
    • "That's a major blow to the development of a global conservation process called REDD...which would allow developed countries to invest in rainforest protection in the tropical world in exchange for carbon credits."
    • "Although the Senate bill does give the President the authority to designate up to 5% of carbon revenue to deforestation or other international aims within the context of a global deal, which is meaningful, it's not as effective as specifically dedicating money to stop deforestation. Further, limiting REDD in a U.S. climate bill could make getting a global deal — already a near impossible challenge — even tougher. REDD was one of the few areas that showed glimmers of promise at the chaotic U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last December....But as the Senate bill stands now, REDD could end up dead."[14]
  • The Scientists' Letter on the Copenhagen Commitment for Tropical Forests, April 2010 by the Union of Concerned Scientists on behalf of over 200 scientists: "The Scientists' Letter on the Copenhagen Commitment for Tropical Forests is a letter asking members of Congress to keep the commitment made by the United States in Copenhagen on December 16, 2009. There the United States promised $1 billion over 3 years for tropical forest conservation."
    • "Tropical forests contain half of all carbon stored in terrestrial vegetation, and clearing and degradation of tropical forests constitutes about 15% of all anthropogenic carbon emissions. REDD+ [Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation in Developing countries] can greatly strengthen measures to reduce carbon emissions, protect biodiversity, and provide other human benefits."
    • "REDD+ is an inexpensive solution relative to alternatives such as industrial energy efficiency or solar or nuclear power and an immediate solution too — $20 billion could cut emissions by half a billion tons and do so by 2020."


  • Copenhagen: Non-binding political accord under discussion as talks near an end, 18 December 2009 by Yale Environment 360: "With time running out in at the climate summit, negotiators are considering issuing a political statement, “The Copenhagen Accord,” that would not lead to a binding climate agreement next year but rather set a goal of halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050."
    • "The accord would delay formal consideration of a treaty reducing greenhouse gas emissions until 2012, and in the meantime set a goal for industrialized nations to slash their greenhouse emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with emissions from all nations being cut by 50 percent by 2050."
  • In Copenhagen's Dark Mood, a Ray of Light for Forests 17 December 2009 by TIME: "there has been progress on ...REDD, which would allow developed nations to pay countries to preserve their rain forests and earn carbon credits. A draft text presented to the delegations on Wednesday had most, if not all, of the major issues ironed out."
    • "REDD got another boost on Wednesday when U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. would commit $1 billion over the next three years to help protect tropical forests."
    • "Negotiators of the draft text say far more will eventually be needed, somewhere north of $20 billion, but the U.S. pledge is a good start and perhaps the first of many others."
  • REDD Deal Close, but Where's the Money?, by Steve Zwick of the Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Marketplace: Current negotiating "text implies the creation of a global infrastructure for making direct payments to forest custodians to ensure the preservation of the rainforests, but falls short of spelling that apparatus out."
    • "It shows agreement in principle...on the establishment of a fund or facility for building up facilities in developing countries for monitoring the amount of carbon captured in trees (“capacity building”), but then gets gooey in the parts that talk about creating market-based mechanisms to pay for the long-term policing of the rainforest to prevent illegal logging or to compensate locals for not turning their forests into farms."
  • REDD in Madagascar, 8 December 2009 by "Barry Ferguson of the University of East Anglia reviews Madagascar's five current REDD Pilot Projects".
    • "Ferguson...notes some of the pitfalls of REDD, including questions of land use rights, meeting the needs of local forest users, and fair distribution of REDD money. Two main suggestions emerge from his review:
      • Community Forest Management will be the Basic Building Block for REDD in Madagascar – but it needs a lot more support to make it work
      • Many Malagasy could be considered as 'Indigenous Peoples' and 'Forest Dwellers' and as such they should have legal rights over their lands including forests"
  • Indonesia could double oil palm plantation area, 2 December 2009 by Mongabay: "Indonesia has 18 million hectares of land suitable for oil palm cultivation, nearly twice the 9.7 million hectares that have already been allocated for plantations, said Agriculture Minister the opening of the 5th Indonesian Palm Oil Conference in Bali."
    • "[E]conomic returns from oil palm plantations could soon face competition under a scheme (known as REDD for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) that would compensate countries for protecting carbon sinks, notably tropical forests and possibly peatlands. Under some circumstances carbon conservation could outperform palm oil production....Indonesia's recent announcements about oil palm expansion across peatlands may in fact be posturing to win more compensation under a REDD mechanism."[15]
  • Standards proposed for REDD-plus, 12 October 2009 by carbonpositive: The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and CARE have produced the 'REDD+ SE' standard, "a qualitative approach setting out the basic principles a REDD programme would need to follow to ensure people’s rights and environmental impacts are properly recognised and accounted for. The eight principles, and criteria for the minimum requirements in meeting them, were identified in a series of stakeholder consultations run by CCBAand CARE this year." [16]
  • UN's forest protection scheme at risk from organised crime, experts warn, 5 October 2009 by "International police, politicians and conservationists warn that the UN's programme to cut carbon emissions by paying poor countries to preserve their forests is 'open to wide abuse'".
    • "...academics and environment groups with long experience working with the logging industry and indigenous communities said that both government and private schemes are being set up with no guarantees to protect communities who depend on the forests. 'Decisions are being rushed, communities are not consulted or compensated and the lure of money from cutting emissions is overiding everything,' says Rosalind Reeve of forestry watchdog group Global Witness."
  • Redd in Africa: 'how we can earn money from air by harvesting carbon', 5 October 2009 by "Kenyan ranch shows how UN scheme could protect forests that absorb CO2 and earn billions of dollars for their owners."
    • "The carbon saved would be traded on the growing voluntary carbon market and after 2012 when the next round of the Kyoto treaty becomes affective, Rukinga could qualify as an official Kenyan government Redd scheme, attracting public money from Britain and other rich countries seeking to offset emissions they have legally committed to cut."
    • "Hans Brattskar, director of Norway's Forest and Climate Programme whose country is funding the UN-Redd programme, said he envisaged some difficulties could be overcome by sophisticated hi-tech surveillance mixed with on-the-spot monitoring by indigenous peoples. 'We know that Redd will needs new laws, land reform and new institutions. But if countries do not perform they will not be paid. This is payment for services. The consequences if we fail are enormous.'"
  • `REDD plus' to give RI double benefits, 8 July 2009 by The Jakarta Post: "the REDD-plus...mechanism will pave the way for developing countries to seek greater incentives if they conserve forest areas, adopt sustainable environment management programs or plant new trees."
    • "Indonesia could be granted around US$15 billion worth financial incentives by avoiding forest destruction under the REDD mechanism."
    • "If Indonesia can manage only a fifth of its forest carbon potential, the country stands to make $3 billion per year based on current carbon prices."
  • Deforestation and carbon credits: Seeing REDD in the Amazon, 11 June 2009 by The Economist: "Saving rainforests needs both property rights and payment."
    • "A law approved this month by Brazil’s Congress...would grant title to all landholdings up to 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) occupied before 2005 in the Amazon, comprising an area the size of France, and ban further land claims. The law entrenches injustice: it risks rewarding people who used violence to obtain land, including large land holders who occupy almost 90% of the area under discussion."
    • "As with other forms of carbon credit, today’s voluntary and experimental REDD schemes will need to be replaced by more rigorously accredited and monitored schemes. But they have a chance of working only if the countries in which they operate define forest land rights clearly. Brazil’s flawed attempt to do this is a step forward."
Deforestation for slash-and-burn agriculture in the tropics.
  • How Carbon Markets Can Make Both Economic and Ecological Sense, 7 June 2009 by The New York Times: "...researchers found that paying to conserve forest was more valuable than plantations as long as poorer nations could earn between $10 and $33 for each tonne of CO2 saved. Currently a credit representing a tonne of CO2 sells for about $20 in the European Union..."
    • "...opponents of a payment system insist that verifying emissions reductions would be too hard. They also say such a system could rob deprived areas of the world of the chance for economic development."
  • Indonesia needs $4b to avert deforestation, 4 June 2009 by The Jakarta Post: "...Indonesian deforestation could be averted if international communities grant US$4 billion until 2012 to finance the livelihood of local peoples and stop forest conversions....The Forestry Ministry said the money would be used to address the main causes of deforestation prior to the implementation of the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism."
    • "Many have criticized the Indonesian government for its failure to combat high rates of deforestation, which have risen to over one million hectares per year."
    • "Indonesia has about 120 million hectares of rainforest – the third-largest on the planet after Brazil and Congo."
    • "...illegal logging [can] be seen from the expansion of oil palm estates in protected areas and conservation forests in the country....local administrations still [award] licenses for forest conversion, including for plantations."
  • Climate Change Scientist Says Forests Have Broader Role Than REDD in Addressing Climate Change, 31 May 2009 by JakartaGlobe: "...with REDD Plus, discussions on forests would not be limited to reducing carbon emissions."
    • "'We have a new term, REDD Plus, which is not just about reducing emissions but also relates to the roles of conservation, sustainable forest management and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries,' Daniel Murdiyarso, a climate change scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (Cifor), said at the 8th Asia Forest Partnerships conference."
    • "'We are not just talking about compensation on [preventing] degradation but also talking about the possibilities for conservation areas to also keep their carbon stocks,' he said, adding that efforts to get carbon credits through REDD Plus would not be limited to reducing emissions."
  • Palm oil could scuttle forest carbon plan: experts, 29 May 2009 by Reuters: "Carbon credits derived from a fledgling forest conservation scheme for developing nations will struggle to compete with palm oil as an investment...”
    • "...REDD allows developing countries to raise potentially billions of dollars in carbon credits in exchange for conserving and rehabilitating forests...However, profits from palm oil plantations could, in some cases, out-compete revenue from selling REDD credits…"
    • "...REDD credits arising from 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of conserved forest sold over a 30-year period -- where payments were front-loaded so that most of the money was delivered within the first eight years -- could fetch about $118 million if those credits could be used to meet emissions obligations for rich nations."
    • "The same credits would fetch only $14 million if their purchase was voluntary...'Whereas high-yield palm oil would get about $96 million'..."
  • Forests and the Planet 28 May 2009 editorial in The New York Times: It is critical that "the right incentives [are put] in place — first as part of broad climate change legislation in the United States, then as part of a new global treaty that the world’s nations hope to negotiate" in Copenhagen in December 2009.
    • "Deforestation accounts for one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — about the same as China’s emissions, more than the emissions generated by all of the world’s cars and trucks."
    • "An estimated 30 million acres of rain forest disappear every year, destroying biodiversity and pouring billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."
    • "The global warming bill now working its way through the [U.S. House of Representatives] seeks to change this destructive dynamic in two ways. It sets up a carbon trading system that is expected to raise upward of $60 billion annually through the sale of pollution allowances. Five percent of that would be set aside to help prevent deforestation, either through a special international fund or as bilateral grants to poor countries."


  • U.N. launches program to cut deforestation emissions, 24 September 2008 by Reuters: "The United Nations launched a program that it...hopes could be the foundation for a system in which rich countries would pay poor ones to slow climate change by protecting and planting forests."
    • "Norway, which is looking for ways to offset carbon dioxide emissions from its growing natural gas export business, donated $35 million to finance the initial phase of UN-REDD."[18]

Other links

International frameworks

Information-sharing websites

REDD overviews

"REDD+" ("REDD Plus") overviews

REDD in US Climate Legislation


  • Global Canopy Program - "an alliance of 37 scientific institutions in 19 countries, which lead the world in forest canopy research, education and conservation."[23]

REDD glossary

Avoided deforestatiaon 
Bali Action Plan 
Multi-donor trust fund[25]

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