An evaluation of REDD+ in community managed forests: a case study from Nepal

PhD Thesis


Pandey, Shiva Shankar. 2014. An evaluation of REDD+ in community managed forests: a case study from Nepal. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

An evaluation of REDD+ in community managed forests: a case study from Nepal

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorPandey, Shiva Shankar
SupervisorCockfield, Professor Geoff
Maraseni, Dr Tek Narayan
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages273
Year2014
Abstract

Deforestation and forest degradation contribute between 10 and 25% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions. The REDD+ program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and promoting forest conservation, sustainable management of the forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks is one mechanism developed in an attempt to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Various
REDD+ initiatives have been trialled in developing countries, including for community forests (CFs), which are an increasingly common form of resource management. Through the program, incentives are provided to community forest
user groups (CFUGs) to encourage changes in management practices likely to increase sequestration stocks. There is, however, limited knowledge about the factors
responsible for enhancing carbon stocks in CFs, the likely trade-offs within communities and the potential for increasing sequestration stocks.

The overarching goal of this research is to evaluate the impacts and potential of REDD+ projects in CF systems. Results from this study provide information for the design and development of programs to increase sequestration and conservation benefits in developing countries. This study estimated carbon stocks and change in carbon stock, technical potential (maximum stocks), key factors affecting carbon stock and trade-offs between gains in sequestration and other foregone community benefits. The study covered 105 CFUGs operating within five major dominant vegetation types. Annual data of carbon pools comprising above and below ground biomass were used to analyse carbon stocks and stock changes. Where sufficient data and models for key species were available, the potential carbon stock was estimated. Social, economic and management data, including a review of existing relevant documents, key informant survey and focus group discussion were used to identify major drivers of forest carbon stock changes in CFs and added community effort and foregone cost added for REDD+. Total costs of REDD+ participation were compared with the potential carbon benefits to enable trade-offs to be identified.

This study found variations in sequestration rates between CFUGs. Key variables were species type, canopy cover, elevation, age, forest scale, agriculture landholding size, disturbance levels, biomass extraction and the use of alternative energy sources.

In comparing present carbon stock with the technical potential of carbon stock in forests, the study identified significant potential for REDD+ projects to increase
carbon stock in CFs.

On the negative side, changes in management practices added costs to communities, either through loss of forest products or through additional REDD+ activities, to the extent that the pilot REDD + projects were generally not economically beneficial for CFUGs. However, they could be made more beneficial with a reduction in the opportunity cost of community engagement (through scheduling) and the bundling of other non-carbon benefits together with carbon benefits. Outcomes could be improved through reducing ‘leakages’ resulting from a high dependency on forest resources through strategies such as the promotion of alternative energy sources (e.g. improved cooking stove and biogas).

Keywordsdeforestation; forest degradation; REDD+; community forests; CF; Community forest user groups; CFUG; carbon stock; carbon; sequestration rates; forests; alternative; emissions; energy sources; biogas; conservation
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300707. Forestry management and environment
399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
379999. Other earth sciences not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsInstitute for Agriculture and the Environment
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