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Agriculture provides most of the world’s food. It also contributes the most to global deforestation. This does not mean, however, that we need to choose between feeding a rapidly growing population and protecting the forests that are so essential to our wellbeing.
While many countries have first depleted their forests before seeing a rebound in tree cover, this “business-as-usual” scenario is not inevitable. But changing it does require a paradigm shift. In part, it means redefining what “successful” pathways to sustainable development look like, so that they resonate with local leaders and reflect local realities – and thus gain political support. In addition, transitioning away from the status quo depends on forming new and creative partnerships between companies, communities, governments, and investors.
How to bring about this new food-and-forest paradigm? An ongoing study - funded by the Program on Forests (PROFOR) and led by the World Bank's Agriculture and Environment Global Practices along with experts from many agricultural and environmental organizations - is trying to find concrete answers. The team is focusing on six agricultural commodities: three that are heavily implicated in deforestation activities (palm oil, soy and beef), and three that could include planting trees in their cultivation (cocoa, coffee and shea butter). In an initial synthesis study, the researchers draw out some key lessons for removing deforestation from agricultural supply chains sooner rather than later, and for increasing the planting of trees in agricultural lands. Here are just six of their takeaways:
Success starts with the farmer. There are many agricultural practices which, if implemented at scale, can benefit crop yields while slowing deforestation or increasing tree cover. Not only must farmers be fully equipped with this information, but they should be consulted and supported in making the transition to sustainable production systems.
It is important to recognize and reward innovators. A system based entirely on punishing those who contribute to deforestation is unlikely to be effective in the long run. A more promising approach is to reward farmers who use creative, forest-friendly practices, while widely promoting the monetary and ecosystem benefits of these methods.
Corporations’ sustainability pledges are important but not sufficient. A new and promising trend is the emergence of technical, commercial, and financial partnerships between companies, farmers, communities, and regional authorities.
Government policies and programs need to be updated. In many cases, existing regulations prevent farmers from harvesting and marketing trees, deterring them from planting trees in agricultural landscapes. Ministries of agriculture and of environment need to work together to revise these legal frameworks so that farmers can sustainably grow and harvest trees on their lands.
Regional action is critical. Efforts to combat deforestation in the agricultural sector sometimes fail because supply chains transcend national boundaries. Large-scale transformation is possible, but it needs to be backed-up by multi-stakeholder processes that lay out a shared vision for a region.
The costs of forest loss need to be communicated more clearly. Forest conservation is often viewed through the lens of foregone agricultural profits. Governments should do a better job of communicating why forests are so crucial. For instance, improved management of shea trees in Sahelian countries could strengthen economic returns and ecological stability, with possible knock-on benefits like sustained income generation, jobs for women and youth, and lower incidence of conflict and migration induced by poor access to natural resources.
Initial findings from the synthesis study, “Leveraging agricultural value chains to enhance tropical tree cover and slow deforestation (LEAVES),” will be shared at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF): The Investment Case in Washington, D.C. on May 30th. Its authors hope to start building momentum for their new approach to productive and sustainable agriculture.
“Although the private sector has been the main driver behind sustainability initiatives like Brazil’s Soy Moratorium and Cattle Agreement, support from the World Bank was instrumental,” said Dora Nsuwa Cudjoe, Senior Environmental Specialist, and Co-Task Team Leader of the LEAVES knowledge product at the World Bank. “The Bank can show the same level of engagement in the agroforestry commodities like coffee, cocoa, and shea, to help scale up private sector efforts. The opportunity is here.”
Last Updated : 08-21-2018
For forests, 2017 could be seen as a tale of discouraging superlatives. We learned that global forest loss is at a record high since data collection started in 2000. Damage from wildfires in the United States was the costliest in the country’s history. And in Brazil, September 2017 saw more forest fires than any other month on record.
There is no doubt that the world’s forests are – like many other ecosystems – approaching a dangerous tipping point. Some of PROFOR’s own analysis draws similar conclusions: for instance, an upcoming report suggests that the southern Amazon may soon be caught up in a cycle of droughts and fires that render the forest into a net emitter of carbon. These and other threats to forests could not only have devastating ecological and climatic impacts, but are likely to profoundly affect the wellbeing of communities who depend on forests and the services that they provide.
Despite this gloomy news, it is encouraging to see an ever-growing body of knowledge on the economic, social and environmental contributions made by forests. More positive still is how much we are learning about the many opportunities for expanding the role of forests to make real development gains.
For example, PROFOR-supported research finds that forest-rich Colombia could significantly boost revenues and jobs by investing in commercial plantations, which would also help protect natural forests and help the country meet its pledge to reduce greenhouse emissions. Another report, co-funded by the Climate Investment Funds, highlights how six countries could sequester more than 150 million tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2030 by supporting forest restoration and the increased production and use of wood products.
PROFOR and partners also made a business case for moving toward deforestation-free production models in the cocoa industry and set out a set of principles to help advance that goal. And where the impact of commercial activities on forests just can’t be avoided or sufficiently minimized, PROFOR is guiding countries like mineral-rich Mozambique on the use of “last resort” options that can still contribute to biodiversity preservation.
Importantly, we know more about the value not just of forests, but also of forested landscapes. A study of tree-based systems in Rwanda and Malawi recommends promoting trees on farms instead of subsidizing fertilizer - a move that could reduce government spending by millions of dollars every year. These and other ecological restoration processes can - and need to - be massively scaled up to maintain important safety nets and help communities move out of poverty.
PROFOR-funded resources like the Forest-SWIFT survey tool are building understanding for the ways in which poor communities depend on forests, and helping to develop targeted programs that simultaneously enhance ecosystem benefits and conserve habitats. Another PROFOR-supported study in the Philippines finds that forest investments can be highly cost-effective, especially when adapting to climate change.
But these gains won’t happen on their own. They require evidence-based investments that consider a whole raft of ethical and governance factors, including the meaningful participation of men and women in forest management decisions. Another crucial consideration – but one that is often considered too risky - is the issue of land rights for forest peoples. A PROFOR book on tenure systems in six Latin American countries aims to advance the discussion of how strong community rights can promote sustainable forest management as well as economic development.
Finally, there has been heartening progress in understanding the role of forests as part of many non-traditional sectors like disaster risk management, agriculture, and energy. PROFOR has been a staunch advocate of these “forest-smart” solutions, and early results are highlighting the importance of this approach. A PROFOR activity on forest-smart mining, for example, revealed that a substantial number of the world’s mines are located in forests. We hope 2018 will see the continued growth of forest-smart strategies, within our own work and that of our partners.
While the year ahead presents some daunting challenges for preserving and protecting forests, and the urgency is greater than ever, we also have better knowledge and tools at our disposal. So, let’s get to work. Won’t you join us?
Last Updated : 05-29-2018
Forests and related resources in Zambia represent the lifeline of rural economies and daily subsistence. The forest sector currently contributes about 5.2% to the country’s GDP, and provides formal and informal employment to about 1.1 million people. The Government of Zambia seeks to manage and enhance forest products and services in order to mitigate climate change, boost income generation, poverty reduction and job creation, and protect biodiversity.
However, Zambia currently lacks the support to effectively tap into the value of forest ecosystem services. For meaningful engagement with the government and other partners to take place, it is imperative to have a better understanding of the forest sector. This activity will support thatanalysis.
This activity will support efforts to strengthen Zambia’s course of action towards forest protection for livelihoods, environmental benefits, and the national economy. The main components are:
- Understanding forests’ contribution to rural livelihoods and the national economy: This component will fill a major knoweldge gap by delving into the importance of forests for improving livelihoods and poverty reduction, and their contributions directly to the economy and through other sectors. A key output will be a synthesis of forest contributions to livelihoods and national economy, including projected values based on current deforestation rates.
- Spatial assessment of the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation: In Zambia, deforestation and forest degradation is closely linked to development activities in the agricultural, transportation, energy, and extractive sectors. This component will assess forest loss by sector, with the goal of influencing relevant policy issues
- Forest smart management interventions: This component will chart a way forward for the World Bank’s engagement with Zambia on forestry and related sectors. The activity will produce a forward-looking synthesis of discussion points to position, as well as private sector guidelines to support rural livelihoods based on forest and forest products.
This activity is ongoing. The preliminary findings from the initial report indicate that the forest sector in Zambia is plagued with challenges linked to deforestation, institutional and legal lapses, land use change and competing land uses, forest diseases, lack of public and private sector investments, and lack of enough qualified to sustainably manage forests. The findings also indicate illegal logging of native species of high economic value, such as mukula, for international markets, involving a complex network of interest groups and individuals. These include individuals, traditional chiefs, government workers, and Chinese nationals. Illegal logging in rosewood alone leads to staggering losses of about US$3.2 million in revenue and estimated bribes paid to state officials of about US$1.7 million. In general, the deforestation annual rate, estimated at 250,000–350,000 hectares, results in an annual loss of US$500 million in natural capital stock.
These preliminary findings put a spotlight on the potential contribution of the forest sector to rural livelihoods and national economy and suggest areas that should be prioritized to ensure smart-forest management interventions. At this stage, the findings are in tune with the project’s contribution to the broader development goals.
The initial report with preliminary findings as indicated above has been shared with the Forest Department for their review, and a review meeting has already been scheduled with the Bank Group. During this reporting period, the collaboration with the Forest Department has been a noteworthy aspect in the execution of the project. Given the level of commitment and collaboration, undoubtedly, the forest knowledge products and outcomes of this project hold potential to influence policy to contribute to general improved social and environmental outcomes of the forest sector in Zambia.
More findings will be shared on this page when they become available.
Last Updated : 06-09-2019
Enhancing Capacity for Livelihoods Development in the Tonlé Sap and Cardamom Mountains Landscape in Cambodia
Over the last two decades, Cambodia achieved remarkable economic growth and graduated from a low- to a lower middle-income country. This growth has largely been driven by the country’s rich and diverse natural capital, which supports the livelihoods of millions of Cambodians but is rapidly being degraded from unsustainable use. For instance, agriculture - which is heavily dependent on natural resources and ecosystem services - contributed to 30 percent of GDP in 2015, and the livelihoods of more than five million people. However, according to official estimates, forest cover declined by 21 percent between 2006 and 2014, mainly due to the conversion of forests to agriculture or rubber plantations within economic land concessions.
To counter the rapid decline in forest area, the Royal Government of Cambodia has adopted several policies, strategies and plans to encourage improved forest use and protection. While these changes are positive, many institutional, information and investment challenges remain. In particular, more comprehensive cost-benefit analyses are needed to assess potential investments in sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem services. In addition, implementation of an integrated landscapes approach to forest programming requires strengthening institutional capacities at the national and subnational levels, as well as improving information and decision-support systems.
The key components of this activity will be:
- The development a national forest monitoring system. Efforts will be made to coordinate with complementary efforts by other development partners and NGOs, to bring together maps and data on forestry, land use, biodiversity, ecosystems, water resources, and soil conditions, to effectively inform decision-making at the local levels. Spatial mapping platforms and GIS resources will be used to compile an interface for informing suitable and sustainable livelihoods and projecting impacts from climate change and economic development.
- Carrying out an institutional development needs assessment, at the national and sub-national levels. It will include the identification of implementation needs for operationalizing the government’s new “corridors approach” for the integrated management of forest landscapes, as well as for anticipated reforms to the environmental code and the framework on the co-management of forests and natural resources.
- Undertake an options assessment of investments in sustainable livelihoods and natural assets. This will help determine the various livelihoods options that could be implemented to build community resilience, protect natural resource assets, and promote a sustained and green growth pathway in the Tonle Sap watersheds and Cardamom Mountains landscapes. The PROFOR Forest Poverty Toolkit will be applied, building additional layers of detail specific to Cambodia, including through by using key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Based on these findings, policy recommendations will be generated on the way forward for landscape-level planning, programming, and investment typologies.
Knowledge from this activity, specifically the ecosystem’s assessment and ecotourism analysis, has provided inputs to the Cambodia Sustainable Landscape and Ecotourism project influencing the identification of priority areas for restoration, and sites for ecotourism development. The use of the information to inform investments reflects the government’s understanding of the use and value of such information, and their push for decision-making on natural resources management that is underpinned by science and analytics.
This activity is ongoing. More findings will be shared on this page when they become available.
Last Updated : 05-05-2019
This PROFOR activity aims to provide evidence to the Government of Nicaragua on the economic benefits of forest landscape restoration activities. The knowledge generated from this activity will be disseminated to policy makers who will improve their decision-making on investments going towards rural livelihoods and incomes, reduced GHG emissions, and greater climate risk resilience.
Based on climate change projections, water availability is likely to decline in most of Nicaragua's watersheds. A three-year drought, coupled with massive deforestation in the past few decades, has depleted most of Nicaragua’s water sources which is threatening the country’s future water supply. In fact, the country has lost up to 60 percent of its surface water sources and up to 50 percent of its underground sources, which have either dried up or have been polluted. Such diminished water availability will severely impact human health, agricultural productivity, hydropower generation, and a suite of other economic activities.
The government of Nicaragua recognizes that restoring forest cover is indispensable to safeguarding agricultural production and minimizing the impacts of climate variability on economic and human well-being. Under the National Reforestation Plan, the government is not only addressing the reduction of carbon emissions, but also aiming to increase awareness of the importance of reversing deforestation, increasing forest coverage, and improving the production of environmental services provided by forests.
To assist the government’s efforts, PROFOR will provide analysis on the ecosystem service and economic benefits of forest landscape restoration activities, including disseminating information to decision makers on the trade-offs of different restoration scenarios. The results can guide the Nicaraguan government on implementing potential forest landscape restoration programs by providing potential prices for payment for ecosystem services and identifying the low-cost/high-benefit alternatives in watershed conservation, forest protection, and carbon sequestration. PROFOR will generate various restoration and investment scenarios that could open restoration and reforestation opportunities for farmers, local communities, and the private sector, including agribusiness and ecotourism.
This PROFOR activity consists of the following tasks:
Analysis of the costs of environmental degradation. This task will estimate the costs of environmental degradation resulting from land degradation and deforestation, droughts, soil degradation, fire, flooding, and other natural disasters. In addition, the analysis will estimate the costs to Nicaragua associated with climate change. This task will provide the analytical underpinnings to target interventions for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Benefit analysis of a potential program for watershed conservation and landscape restoration in Nicaragua. This analysis will estimate the benefits of forest and landscape restoration on the value of multiple ecosystem services across the country by estimating the net value of ecosystem service benefits (such as ecotourism, carbon sequestration, water quality, agriculture, soil protection, etc.) under different reforestation scenarios. It will also explore the economic potential of changing land use (such as degraded agricultural land) to restore native forest, or for agroforestry.
Recommendations on policies, regulations, incentives and plans to improve forest and land conservation. Different system dynamic modelling tools will be used to analyze various scenarios where investments and policies could improve Nicaragua’s forest landscape restoration.
By accomplishing these tasks, the program will inform and improve the Nicaraguan Government’s knowledge on how to promote policies and regulations that increase forest conservation, support a nature-based economy, and increase watershed conservation and landscape restoration in the country.
This activity is on-going. The preliminary findings indicate that there is increasing pressure on forests because of the expansion of cattle ranching and several types of illegal processes to take land in the Caribbean versant; the incidences of forest fire are also increasing and demanding response from civil society (the forest fire in Indio Maiz Reserve was the original element that generated confrontation with the government). Because of the political unrest in the country, consultations and the fieldwork could not progress as planned. More results will be reported as the implementation of this project progresses over time.
Last Updated : 06-09-2019
The widespread use of natural resources and exploitation of forests have left vast areas in Mozambique and Madagascar deforested and degraded. Population growth and climate change are aggravating these challenges. For example, in areas where land is increasingly degraded, crop yields are likely to stagnate or even decline, leading to additional pressure to expand agricultural production into marginal areas to accommodate population’s demands for food. Climate change is likely to further compound the challenge of managing landscapes and sustaining their ability to deliver development benefits in both countries.
There is a need to enhance the countries’ ability to quantify the extent of the status and trend of land degradation (including forest loss) and to estimate the future pressures on land and forests. PROFOR’s program will support the development tools to support integrated decision-making for landscape management across various sectors and levels of government. These tools are expected to help the governments of Madagascar and Mozambique identify an effective mix of interventions to achieve objectives regarding food security, landscapes, and forest sustainability in the face of competing development interests.
The activity consists of two components:
- Land degradation baseline: Development of a detailed and up-to-date spatial dataset that will allow the estimation of the capacity of land to deliver the services being assessed (food provisioning, carbon storage, and erosion control), and to improve understanding of the present situation and implications of land and forest degradation. The activity will develop suitable metrics for assessing the extent of land degradation due to both the change of land cover and the use of inadequate management practices on agricultural land.
- The expected outputs are a land degradation baseline (data and maps), and an interactive spatial data visualization tool
- Prototype land planning decision support tool: development of a forward-looking, spatial decision-support tool to assess how selected indicators are likely to change over time in response to exogenous drivers, endogenous responses of socio-economic actors, and policy decisions. The tool will consist of a dynamic land use change analysis platform, organized in different modules. It is intended to capture the interaction between demand for land products (including staple crops and other agriculture products, timber for fuelwood, construction and other uses) and the supply of those products, mediated by local and national markets, and connected through road networks.
- The expected output is a spatial simulation platform.
A series of training and dissemination activities will be developed to hand over the full set of data sets and tools to relevant government officials and stakeholders in both countries.
In April 2018, the first technical report, “Land Degradation Baseline,” was delivered and highlights the progress with the development of a land degradation baseline, which consists of an assessment of different aspects of land degradation at a national level, using a combination of remote sensing techniques, and expert opinion.
The PADAP team will use the regional model (LANDSIM-R) to inform the development of its landscape management plans. More specifically, from the hydrological point of view, the tool will help identify the optimal intervention to implement upstream in order to limit negative impacts from erosion for specific locations downstream. This is a very significant achievement: The tool will serve in decision making in the preparation of landscape management plans that could constitute the future of land use planning in Madagascar.
The second technical report, “LAUREL – Land Use Simulation Platform,” was issued in November 2018. It describes the technical approach to take in the development of the LANDSIM platform and presents a further definition of the modeling approach at the conceptual level as well as first simulation results, focusing on reference scenarios (i.e., no policy interventions).
The LANDSIM-P, the land use land cover map, and the land degradation products have been used to assess the impacts of Cyclone Idai and these data sets were used to feed into the PDNA (Post-Disaster Needs Assessment) led by the World Bank on the environment side. The three products have shown that they have potential in a scenario of scarcity of spatial information in the country.
This activity is on-going. Results will be reported as the implementation of this project progresses over time.
Last Updated : 06-07-2019
This story was originally posted by the World Bank.
- In West Africa, cocoa has been identified as a major driver of deforestation which has led to serious soil degradation, water insecurity and crop failures in the region.
- To address these issues, governments and the private sector are becoming increasingly active on sustainability in the cocoa industry.
- A new report describes overarching principles and key strategies that these stakeholders can implement to lay the groundwork for deforestation-free production in the cocoa sector.
A new report presents a first set of principles for achieving sustainable, deforestation-free cocoa production. Eliminating Deforestation from the Cocoa Supply Chain analyzes current sustainability projects and best practices in the cocoa sector and makes the business case for moving toward deforestation-free production models.
While global cocoa production relies almost entirely on 5 – 6 million smallholders, the processing level in the cocoa value chain is highly concentrated among several traders, grinders and chocolate producers. Even though deforestation occurs at the smallholder level, it is the companies, governments, and service providing NGOs that need to work to change policies and practices because the farmers have limited financial means and technical capacity to make the needed changes on their own.
The report, released by the BioCarbon Fund and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) together with the World Cocoa Foundation and Climate Focus, describes overarching principles and key strategies that these stakeholders can implement to lay the groundwork for deforestation-free production in the cocoa sector:
1. Protection of natural primary and secondary forest: Companies can commit not to source cocoa associated with the deforestation of natural forest.
2. Legality: For producers and consumers, it is a priority to eliminate illegality within the cocoa supply chain.
3. Transparency: Companies, policy makers, and advocacy groups need to know who is driving deforestation and where.
4. Integration into long-term strategies: For the public sector, this means anchoring policies in long-term development strategies and legal frameworks. For the private sector, efforts that are supported at the CEO level and form an integral part of all operations will have the best success.
5. Operation at Scale: Larger-scale programs allow the establishment of incentives across a landscape, and economies of scale in information and extension services.
Agricultural expansion is a well-known driver of deforestation, and much has been written about the usual suspects — palm oil, soy, cattle and wood products — which alone are responsible for 40 percent of global deforestation per year. But recently, cocoa – the essential ingredient in the world’s chocolate – is also being scrutinized for its role in unsustainable land use practices.
There are several reasons for this. Cocoa grows best in forested – or formerly forested – areas. For many years, expanding production has encroached into and ultimately degraded forests to plant more cocoa trees. In West Africa in particular, cocoa has been identified as a major driver of deforestation which has led to serious soil degradation, water insecurity and crop failures in the region. This cocoa-related deforestation also affects biodiversity hotspots in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
More than 90 percent of production comes from smallholder farms that depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. These small farmers and their families have to be part of the move to more sustainable methods, but they often face challenges in adopting better production practices: low yields from older trees, pests and diseases that target cocoa plants, difficulty obtaining farming supplies, and limited access to financing for those improvements.
To address these issues, governments and the private sector are becoming increasingly active on sustainability in the cocoa industry. In March, twelve of the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies, including Barry Callebaut, Mars, Mondelēz International and Olam, came together for the first time to set up a cooperative initiative to end deforestation and forest degradation in the global cocoa supply chain. Since then, additional companies have joined and more than 30 are committed to the effort.
In recent years, the World Bank Group has also been active in the sustainable cocoa dialogue, especially in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire where cocoa is a major driver of deforestation. In 2014 –2015, the Bank Group worked with Ghana on a scenario planning exercise to inform a cocoa sector strategy revision. And through the FCPF, the Bank Group continues to help both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to develop large-scale emission reductions programs that aim to create incentives for more sustainable cocoa landscapes by paying for emission reductions, once they are verified. The Bank Group will also soon begin an analysis of the technical, financial and incentive barriers and opportunities to advance climate-smart cocoa at the farmer level, with funding from the Bank-hosted Program on Forests (PROFOR).
Through 2017, the World Cocoa Foundation and the leading cocoa producers will work to develop a global public-private framework of action to address deforestation in the cocoa supply chain. The FCPF will work in parallel to support the effort with analytical work and consultations. This framework is planned to be presented at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Bonn, Germany in November.
Last Updated : 07-24-2017
At the heart of whether growth in a country is green and sustainable is the issue of accumulation of wealth. It is wealth — broadly defined to include manufactured capital, natural capital (including forests), human and social capital— that underlies the generation of national income. Gross domestic product (GDP) has conventionally been used to assess economic performance, measuring economic growth from one year to the next. But GDP does not take into account depreciation and depletion of wealth, and therefore does not provide an indication of whether growth is sustainable: an economy could appear to be growing in the near term by running down its assets such as its forests. Assessments of economic performance should therefore be based on both measures of annual growth (such as GDP) and measures of the comprehensive wealth of a country, which indicate whether that growth is sustainable in the long term.
For the past 15 years, the World Bank has provided indicators to measure the sustainability of a country’s growth path, such as Adjusted Net Saving (ANS), adjusted Net National Income (aNNI), and comprehensive wealth estimates. Underpinning these indicators are data on natural resource rents (from forests, minerals, and energy) which provide policy makers with information on potential revenues from natural capital.
The comprehensive wealth accounts, which have been published for 1995, 2000, and 2005, include estimates for forest wealth which is calculated as the sum of the net present value of rents from timber extraction and annual benefits from non-timber resources, including minor forest products, hunting, recreation, and watershed protection. ANS, which is published annually and covers the period 1970-present, is defined as net national saving adjusted for investments in human capital, depletion of natural resources (including forests), and damages to human health caused by pollution, and provides an estimate of the annual change in wealth.
Recent findings suggest that while wealth data and ANS data are used by researchers and policy analysts, the greatest demand is for data on natural resource rents. However, while minerals and energy rent data have gained a lot of traction, rent data for forests are not used as frequently. Interviews have revealed concerns with the credibility of the underlying data, such as the FAO data on forest area and growing stock. The authors of the indicators have also concluded that a number of methodological changes could improve estimates for forest wealth, potential forest rents, and net forest depletion.
This activity hopes to increase the use of improved World Bank forest data (forest rents, net forest depletion, and forest wealth), so that countries and data users are better equipped with credible and more accurate information on the physical area and value of forest resources. Countries should consider not just the flow of revenues from forest resources, but also the sustainable management of the asset (stock of forest resources).
- Data on the value of forest wealth, its share in total wealth, and how the value is changing over time can help governments assess the contribution of forests to current development outcomes and whether forests are being managed sustainably.
- Data on potential forest rents when combined with information on actual rent recovery and use of these revenues will allow governments to assess whether contribution of forest resources to sustainable development is being realized and who is benefitting from the revenue. Such data and assessments can equip policymakers to better manage forest resources, improve forest governance, increase transparency in the rent captured, and ultimately lead to increased reinvestment of forest rents in other forms of capital to grow the total wealth of the country.
- These policy changes could, in turn, promote the sustainable management of forest resources for poverty reduction and economic growth.
The activity has been successfully completed.
A report is being finalized and will be released soon. The report reviews the latest literature, explores improved data sources, evaluates key parameters and assumptions in the methodology, and outlines the steps and resources required to improve the data and methods.
An implementation plan for updating the forest database that includes a plan for country surveys if the report finds insufficient global data will be finalized in the coming months.
Author : PROFOR , WAVES , RFF 
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
World Bank Africa Region
In many African countries, native forests are under pressure from rapidly-spreading roads, dams and other infrastructure, as well as the allocation of large forest areas to mining, commercial agriculture, and other non-forest uses. Biodiversity offsets are one of the tools available to address such pressures. Offsets can be used to strengthen protected areas of similar or greater conservation value than the area lost to specific projects. The driving impetus for such offset schemes is usually biodiversity protection, although the associated conservation areas provide additional ecosystem services such as soil and water conservation, flood mitigation, and habitat for sustainably exploitable fisheries. In an era of often flat -- and sometimes declining -- governmental support for forest conservation in general and protected areas in particular, biodiversity offsets provide an underutilized opportunity to mobilize substantial new funding from public infrastructure accounts as well as the private sector.
Biodiversity offsets are not a panacea, nor are they always the best tool available for achieving forest conservation. As part of the “mitigation hierarchy” underpinning the World Bank’s Safeguard Policies and the IFC’s Performance Standards, offsets are considered a last resort, after efforts to avoid, minimize, and restore any significant damage to forests or other natural habitats. Nonetheless, given that many infrastructure, extractive, and other large-scale projects have an inherently large footprint, a biodiversity offset scheme may be warranted (and required by some funding entities).
A key challenge is systematizing and scaling-up biodiversity offsets through a national or other aggregated offset approach in order to overcome limitation like: (i) the high transaction costs often borne by each separate project; (ii) sub-optimal selection of conservation offset areas due to uncoordinated, ad-hoc approaches; and (iii) insufficient participation and ownership by governmental authorities in arrangements negotiated primarily between large private firms and conservation NGOs. The cumulative impacts of multiple (including smaller-scale) projects could also be more effectively addressed through an aggregate offset approach.
Under this activity, the team produced a Biodiversity Offsets User Guide containing key information about biodiversity offsets that practitioners should know about, with references provided where readers could obtain further information. Three case studies of reasonably successful biodiversity offsets were added to the User Guide as annexes. The case studies involved two private sector mining projects (in Liberia and Madagascar) and one World Bank-supported hydropower project (in Cameroon). These case studies are intended to show readers how the concepts explained in the User Guide can realistically be applied to achieve positive results on the ground.
In addition, in response to a strong expression of interest from the Government of Mozambique, this activity also provided legal technical assistance for incorporating biodiversity offsets into the Government’s official Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. Two reports were produced: (i) An analysis of Mozambican environmental legislation with respect to the use of biodiversity offsets; and (ii) a draft revision of the actual EIA regulations.
Finally, two pilot Country Roadmaps were completed to assess the potential for large-scale biodiversity offset systems in Liberia and Mozambique. The Roadmaps are intended as preliminary country examinations of legal and regulatory frameworks, national policies, land use plans, financial structures, and other relevant information.
The research team found that multiple detailed publications already exist about the details and controversies of biodiversity offsets, but that a concise reference with practical advice on how actually to do them was still lacking. This is the void that the Biodiversity Offsets User Guide seeks to fill.
The Liberia Biodiversity Offsets Roadmap emphasizes industrial-scale mining. Since adequate funding for Liberia’s protected areas remains a challenge, biodiversity offsets offer the potential for improved financial sustainability. The Liberia Roadmap outlines a series of steps for scaling-up biodiversity offsets in Liberia; among the most important is the establishment of a national Conservation Trust Fund to enable the reliable and transparent transfer of funds from extractive firms to priority Protected Areas. The new Liberia Forest Sector (REDD+) Project, approved in April 2016 with support from the World Bank and Government of Norway, provides a vehicle for moving forward the Roadmap’s key recommendations.
In Mozambique, existing Conservation Areas (CAs) cover about 26% of the country’s land area, and encompass most types of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. However, most are seriously underfunded. The Mozambique Biodiversity Offsets Roadmap (also available in Portuguese) proposes using Mozambique’s BioFund to transfer biodiversity offsets funding from infrastructure and extractive industry projects to selected CAs that are ecologically similar to the project-affected areas. Implementation has begun of the Roadmap’s recommendations, through the Government’s recently revised Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
Author : World Bank Africa Region
Last Updated : 02-28-2017
Deforestation and forest degradation account for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transportation sector and second only to the energy sector. While considered a problem, preventing deforestation can serve as 20% of the solution to climate change.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, thereby offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
For REDD+ to be effective, a benefit-distribution system is needed to persuade stakeholders, in particular the forest-dependent poor, to participate. However, a range of critical questions remain about the nature of such a system.
The Forest Dialogue (TFD) REDD+ Initiative seeks to build a community of practice among locally rooted, well-connected REDD practitioners to share experiences and develop practical tools that support effective, efficient, and equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms for REDD+. Through the initiative, TFD aims to promote appropriate economic, policy, and institutional arrangements at the local, national, and international levels and to facilitate equitable and efficient delivery of REDD+ benefits.
TFD and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) conducted a series of dialogues among leaders in 2013—in Ghana, Vietnam, and at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.—to investigate how to create benefit-sharing mechanisms for REDD+. The first dialogue, in Washington, was a scoping exercise that aimed to understand the state of REDD+ benefit sharing in several key countries and to identify the challenges of designing and implementing those mechanisms more broadly. The dialogues will continue in 2014, with the first scheduled to take place in Peru.
PROFOR will support this initiative in several ways. It will host the scoping dialogue associated with this dialogue stream. PROFOR also will use the work it has done on benefit sharing to inform the broader dialogue stream, and will link the stakeholders that it has engaged with to the dialogue stream. PROFOR’s other objective is to actively engage from the technical side in the dialogue stream, given the relevance of this topic for REDD+ and more generally. PROFOR also will assist with dissemination and generation of materials and products from this dialogue stream, on a needs-justified basis.
This activity is ongoing. Findings will be shared on this page when they become available.
Author : The Forests Dialogue , International Union for Conservation of Nature 
Last Updated : 05-23-2017