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Recent developments in international policy on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries (REDD) open the way for crediting of carbon saved by rural communities through management of the forests in their vicinity. Since the annual changes in forest carbon stock under this kind of management are relatively small and often under the canopy, they cannot easily be assessed using remote sensing, so ground-level data collection is likely to be essential over large areas of forests. The potential role of communities in measuring, monitoring and reporting carbon stock changes in their forests has been explicitly mentioned in UNFCCC documentation on methodology for REDD+, the extended form of REDD that includes forest enhancement, sustainable forest management and forest conservation.
Community Forest Monitoring for the Carbon Market presents practical methods by which communities can do it. These methods were developed and tested with communities in villages in Africa and Asia under a six-year research programme. The reliability of the data gathered by the community is shown to be equivalent to that of professional forest inventories while the costs are much lower. Involvement of local communities in collection of this data may be the most cost-effective solution for national REDD+ programmes. Moreover, it could provide the basis for a transparent system for distribution of the financial rewards from REDD+ and the carbon market.
Community Forest Monitoring for the Carbon Market first presents the policy context, concepts, methods and general results, which include estimates of typical carbon savings resulting from community management in different types of tropical forests. It also looks at the governance issues that may be involved and a variety of ways in which incentive schemes might be designed to encourage communities to participate. The second half of Community Forest Monitoring for the Carbon Market is devoted to case studies from the countries involved in the research. These provide both ideas and practical experience to enable agencies to engage with local communities to monitor carbon stock changes.
Part I: Principles and Issues
1. Why Community Forest Monitoring?
2. How Much Carbon Does Community Forest Management Save?
3. Local Participation In Mapping, Measuring and Monitoring for Community Carbon Forestry
4. The Policy Context of Community Monitoring for REDD+
5. Information Requirements for National REDD+ Programmes
6. The Costs And Reliability of Forest Carbon Monitoring by Communities
7. A Field Guide for Community Forest Carbon Monitoring
8. Participatory Mapping and Monitoring of Forest Carbon Services Using Freeware: Cybertracker and Google Earth
Part II: Case Studies
9. The Cost to Communities in Nepal of Participating in REDD+
10. Community Carbon Forestry to Counter Forest Degradation in the Indian Himalayas
11. The Potential of Community Forest Management Under REDD+ for Achieving MDG Goals in Tanzania
12. West Africa: Carbon Savings Through Community Management of Dry Savanna Woodlands
13. Can Carbon Compete with the Loggers in Papua New Guinea?
14. Will Poor Nepalese Communities be able to Access REDD+ Carbon Credits? A Legal Analysis
Margaret Skutsch is Associate Professor in environmental geography at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and is also affiliated to the University of Twente, the Netherlands. She has been doing research on community forest management since 1978, mainly in Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India and Mexico. She led the Kyoto: Think Global Act Local programme (2003-2009).
"Incentivizing and compensating local forest users for reduced emissions require regular monitoring of forest carbon stocks. This book demonstrates convincingly – based on extensive field research – that this can be done by local communities themselves in a reliable and cost-efficient way."
- Arild Angelsen, Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences & Senior Associate, CIFOR