- Climate change and loss
of forest resources are the two most threatening environmental problems of
our time. Actions that deal with both together are especially valuable.
- Loss of forest is responsible
at least a quarter of all atmospheric carbon increases, worldwide.
- Although rates of deforestation are roughly known,
forest degradation (lost of biomass within forest boundaries)
is contributing considerably to carbon losses. Degradation has hardly been
- Afforestation and reforestation are currently
allowed as measures to reduce atmospheric carbon under the CDM, but not management
of existing natural forest, or activities which directly reduce deforestation.
Although afforestation and reforestation offer a quick and relative cheap
way of absorbing atmospheric carbon, they may also have a number of negative
impacts on local populations, since they essentially require alienation of
land from other uses, and often result in monocultures of fast-growing exotic
trees. Management of natural forest in contrast is generally beneficial.
- All over the world it is
increasingly being recognized that local communities can manage natural forests
themselves and markedly improve their state of health, if the authorization
to do this is clear, and provided they are assured of some benefits (examples:
JFM in India, Village Forest Reserves in Tanzania, Marches Rurales in Mali).
- The benefits that local
populations gain from forest management tend to be non-financial. A small
financial reward, which could be gained from the sale of carbon credits, is
likely to stimulate this activity greatly, and vastly increase the areas under
- Community based forest management
is a cheap and effective means of reducing deforestation and degradation and
improving the health of existing forest areas. The amount of carbon that would
be sequestered per hectare per year would be small, but the area that could
potentially be brought under management is enormous, moreover the management
costs will be minimal. CBFM presents a low intensity, cost effective strategy
for carbon sequestration.
- CBFM is one of the very
few options for poor, marginalized populations to join in the global effort
against climate change, and to benefit also from funds set aside by Annex
1 countries to resolve their carbon debt.
- There will be many
co-benefits from forest management, including water conservation and biodiversity
protection, and these will impact not just the local community but
more importantly society as a whole.
- Besides acting as a carbon sponge, forest management
may also serve as a means to help poor marginalized people to adapt to the
inevitable effects of climate change. A well-managed forest can regulate water
flow better, thus reducing the impacts of increased or decreased rainfall.
A health forest can also offer a variety of alternative livelihood supports
for people when their main means of income generation is threatened by climate
- At CoP11, at two year process was initiated to consider
the possibility of crediting reduction of emissions from deforestation (REDD).
The K:TGAL program aims to provide data and scientific backing to support
such a policy development.
- Discussions on REDD continue, and this project aims
to inform this debate as regards the potential of CBFM as as strategy for