Forest-based climate mitigation: Lessons from REDD+ implementation

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The novel feature of REDD+ --payments for results at the scale of national or subnational jurisdictions-- is only now beginning to be tested, more than a decade since it was first embraced by the international community. Lessons are emerging about the degree to which such payments can prompt land use policy reforms to mitigate the emissions that cause climate change.
National REDD+ initiatives have helped create domestic conditions for addressing deforestation and forest degradation, providing an important foundation for future impact. These conditions include better understanding of deforestation drivers, improved forest monitoring capacities, and increased stakeholder engagement.
Subnational jurisdictional approaches are gaining traction as a strategic way to link REDD+ incentives, sustainable supply chain initiatives, and related domestic policies and finance. Many subnational jurisdictions across the tropics have made progress toward reducing deforestation; but more targeted policy reforms, including alignment of incentives at subnational, national, and international levels, are needed to sustain it.
A first generation of REDD+ projects has yielded important insights into the drivers of deforestation that must be addressed at higher levels, including land tenure insecurity and demand for globally traded commodities. Rigorous evaluations of early project-scale REDD+ interventions can help inform the design and implementation of jurisdictional-scale policies, programs, and initiatives.
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