By creating a financial value to the carbon stored in rainforests, REDD+ enables a nation to reach their development goals without cutting down trees. Healthy forests are essential for a healthy planet. Unfortunately, the world’s forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Around the world, forests are being clear-cut for agriculture, mining, construction and other economic activities at the rate of 5.2m hectares per year. Deforestation is one of the leading causes of carbon emissions. Most deforestation takes place in tropical rainforests in developing nations.
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degredation (REDD) attempts to mitigate climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest management in developing countries. REDD+ goes further than just preventing deforestation to include protection of biodiversity and ensuring that the benefits of sustainable practices are distributed fairly to the local communities of the project area.
Started in 2005 by a small group of forest nations at a United Nations climate conference, REDD-plus is a mechanism for the development of rainforest conservation projects. Since that time, REDD+ has expanded and improved and is now considered by many to be the most progressive methodology for forest conservation yet devised. There are REDD forest conservation projects in many countries including Brazil, Uganda and Indonesia.
REDD+ and the Natural Forest Standard
The Natural Forest Standard is a uniquely designed voluntary carbon standard that integrates social, biodiversity and carbon values for REDD natural forest projects. The Natural Forest Standard not only recognises the value of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation but also reflects the importance of natural capital within REDD project areas. Through the conservation and restoration of these at-risk natural forest areas, the NFS provides mechanisms to ensure the distribution of benefits to the local and indigenous communities plus the quantification of the biodiversity significance of each project area, ensuring no net loss of biodiversity occurs through project activities. For these reasons, Celestial Green Ventures opted to develop the Trocano Araretama conservation project to the Natural Forest Standard level using REDD+ methodologies.
Originating in 2011, the Trocano Araretama REDD+ project is located in the Borba municipality of the Amazonas state in Brazil. With 1.3m hectares of pristine rainforest protected in the project area, it is situated on the banks of the Madeira River around 200 km south of the state capital, Manaus.
Celestial Green Ventures works in close partnership with local inhabitants and local authorities. We enable the local communities to get actively involved and engaged in the project by generating tangible and sustainable enhancements to their way of life. These include healthcare, education and infrastructure improvements as well as employment opportunities and economic sustainability.
The goals of the Trocano Araretama REDD+ project are to prevent deforestation, conserve biodiversity and create social and economic benefits for the nearly 11,000 inhabitants within the project boundary. REDD+ methodology means that these combined benefits are measured and verified independently and then evaluated as Natural Capital Credits. This produces global benefits which are verified annually by an independent environmental consulting firm called Environmental Services Inc.
By placing a financial value on the carbon stored in forests, REDD+ generates economic benefits for developing nations with large forests without deforestation. Incentivised conservation means forested nations can achieve their development goals in a sustainable way and provide global benefits by avoiding deforestation. Deforestation is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions which leads to climate change and global warming. Also, forests absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and store it.
The Amazon rainforest is home to vast numbers of plants, insects, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammalian species, with new ones discovered every year. Tropical rainforests have been described as “nature’s pharmacy” due to the fact that almost 25% of natural medicines originate from the rainforest ecosystem, including many used to fight cancer. Unfortunately, many rainforest species are at risk of extinction due to disappearing habitats and rising temperatures because of climate change. The protection of biodiversity is one of the main activities under a REDD+ programme.
Generate Social Benefits
The starting point of REDD+ is protecting the rights of local communities and enabling them to benefit from conservation. Billions of people around the world depend on services the forest ecosystem provides, including soil conservation, water drainage, food, medicine and fuel. Forest communities are at the centre of the Trocano Araretama REDD+ project – it cannot succeed without them. Communities control and deliver the REDD+ conservation effort. For this they share in the benefits such as improvements in education and health services and sustainable economic development, all of which are financed through their REDD+ activities.