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as Allianz SE, Eneco, ENTEGA, Nedbank and the PPR Group have embraced the idea
of purchasing REDD carbon credits. Increasingly, consumers are demanding that their
favourite brands do more than simply sell products and services, but that corporations
recognise ecological and social values as well.
Carbon stocks are accurately measured by mathematical calculations down to the last
kilogram of carbon through rigorous procedures. A reference scenario is set using
Landsat Remote Sensing imagery, and annual monitoring, reporting and verifcation is
carried out assiduously by trained practitioners.
It is estimated that Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project will avert the emission of over 7
million metric tonnes of CO2 over its 30 year project lifetime, which would have been
emitted had the primary forest been cleared and burnt as much of the surrounding area
has been. This includes aboveground and belowground biomass as well as soil carbon.
(Forest soils as well as trees lock up carbon, therefore carbon stock volume includes
below-ground soils/biomass; for it is essential to maintain soil productivity and nutrients
can be depleted, often irrevocably once forests are removed and the soil is exposed to
It is important that a critical wildlife habitat is secured. The area is an essential part of
the Greater Tsavo Ecosystem and includes populations of endangered and threatened
species: Grevy's zebra, African wild dog, cheetah, lion, serval cat as well as elephant
who migrate through this corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks,
300 species of birdlife and 20 species of bat.
The income from carbon credit sales is shared equally between the landowners, the
community and Wildlife Works. The community’s share fnances a large number of
community projects through a trust, thereby contributing to sustainable development
of the area. Wildlife Works' share goes towards operational costs and funding wildlife
related activities especially diligent security for anti-poaching.
There are fve communities located around the project area. So far, each community
has received close to US$130,000 to be used in community development, such as
school facilities, bursaries and clean water projects. These projects are decided through
a Locational Carbon Committee (LCC) and implemented by a Community Based
Organisation (CBO). It is noteworthy that a considerable amount (40-50%) of the money
is dedicated towards school bursaries. This spells good news for the climate, local
communities, the environment, and biodiversity -- all inextricably linked.
Trans-continental carbon markets are listed on the world's stock exchanges and units
can be traded just like any other commodity. Meanwhile, California has fast-tracked its
carbon credit market, bringing tropical forest carbon into its compliance market. Selling
carbon credits in San Francisco for a forest in Kenya may sound incredulous. Is this
not disregarding the signifcance that all of us need to reduce our carbon footprint – no
matter where we live?
In fact REDD is not without its critics. They question the ethicality of a compensation
scheme which focuses on reducing emissions caused by some of the world's poorest
and which is paid for by those living in the modern industrialised economies which
however have an historically high resource use/deforestation rates and who pollute the
most through intensive use of resources. And how do practitioners prevent 'Leakage',
whereby conserving one area displaces the carbon emitting activity elsewhere?
Is it really possible to distribute the benefts from REDD in a just and equitable way
-- that avoids corruption by national governments and local elites? Furthermore, our
current global economic system has one defning principle – the creation of money.
Commoditising forests and opening this up to the global markets (forest carbon) may
undermine the existing natural affliations people have to protect their forests for spiritual
and cultural reasons.
However, Pavan Sukhdev, a former international banker, now advisor to the UN on
the concept of 'green economies', defends REDD "...the people on the ground are
professionals who have been working on this and thinking about it for some time."
The principle of Payment for Environmental Services (PES), of which REDD is an example,
is gaining credence as a market mechanism for resource conservation, and could play an
even more signifcant role in future forestry conservation, providing adequate incentives
for the sustainable management of forests and fair distribution of benefts. For instance,
the benefciaries of a PES scheme (tourists devoted to conservation; municipalities
seeking to conserve forested areas within a watershed) could establish contracts with
the providers and managers (those who control and sustain the natural resources).
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