The conservation blogosphere is covered in REDD+, but what is it? REDD+ is simply an acronym for Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. It aims to foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhance forest carbon stocks through local incentives by creating a financial value for carbon stored in trees. Once this carbon is assessed and quantified, developed countries pay developing countries carbon offsets for their standing forests. By doing so, green house gas emissions can be lowered in a cost-effective way. REDD+ is different from traditional methods because “unlike afforestation and reforestation activities, which generally cause small annual changes in carbon stocks over long periods of time, stemming deforestation causes large changes in carbon stocks over a short period of time.” It also has the benefits of addressing water resource management, soil erosion, flooding reduction, biodiversity, and other issues.
Where is it used? USAID provides a database of current projects. REDD is also being proposed after a recent publication in Nature Climate Change released a study that tropical rainforests store 229 billion tons of carbon in their vegetation. This study, through The Woods Hole Research Center, used new satellite-based assessment, including cloud-penetrating LiDAR (less degree of error). The findings are available in a free downloadable carbon density map here.