Challenges for community carbon forestry
There are a number of barriers which need to be overcome
if community based forest management is to become eligible for carbon crediting.
- First of all, there has to be a mechanism in place
for this. It is unlikely that reducing carbon emissions through projects for
avoiding deforestation will be countenanced by the Parties to the UNFCCC/Kyoto
Protocol, because of the great risks of leakage (that is to say, displacement
of deforestation from one area to another, without any net carbon savings).
Thus it is not expected that community forest management activities will become
eligible under CDM or a similar mechanism. It is more probable that it would
be accepted at a sectoral level, across a whole region or country.
- Secondly, any claim for crediting would have to be
backed by a credible and reliable baseline, which takes into account not only
the area of forest and the change in this over time, but also the carbon density
of the forest, and how this changes over time. Methodology for this is still
- Estimates need to be made of typical rates of carbon
sequestration resulting from community forest management, and the typical
impact of CBFM on reducing deforestation and degradation. This will in part
depend on the types of management that are included in any CBFM package.
- Estimates need to be made of the costs per ton of carbon
sequestration and avoided deforestation by CBFM, so that potential investors
can compare this option with other types of sink or energy carbon off-sets.
- The transaction costs associated with obtaining and
marketing carbon credits for CBFM need to be estimated. These include the
costs of developing the baseline, monitoring the carbon uptake, verifying
the carbon gains, and certification etc. Ways need to be developed to reduce
these transaction costs, for example by allowing local people to do as much
of the carbon monitoring as possible rather than using professional staff
- As with all sink projects, it is necessary to establish
ways of overcoming the non-permanence of carbon storage in community forests,
both in physical and in economic ways.
- The opportunity costs of managing forest in a
sustainable way using CBFM need to be estimated to assess whether the market
price for carbon is sufficient to act as an incentive for CBFM.
- Transparent systems for administrating financial rewards
for avoiding deforestation and degradation need to be designed.