REDD+ readiness implications for Sri Lanka in terms of reducing deforestation

REDD+ readiness implications for Sri Lanka in terms of reducing deforestation

An article by Eskil Mattsson, U. Martin Persson, Madelene Ostwald, S.P. Nissanka published in Journal of Environmental Management.

Reference: Mattsson, E., U. M. Persson, M. Ostwald, and S. P. Nissanka. 2012. REDD+ readiness implications for Sri Lanka in terms of reducing deforestation. Journal of Environmental Management 100:29-40.



Any system to compensate countries for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) requires a historical reference level against which future performance can be measured. Here we examine the possibilities Sri Lanka, a small forest country with limited data on forest carbon stocks, has to get ready for REDD+. We construct a historical reference level using available forest inventory data combined with updated 2008 and 2009 in situ carbon density data for Sri Lankan forests. Furthermore, we use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to attribute the clearing of Sri Lankan forests in the latest years for which national forest inventory data are available, 1992-1996, to estimate various proximate drivers and the opportunity cost of forest conservation.

We estimate that baseline deforestation emissions in Sri Lanka amounted to 17 MtCO²yr in the 1992-1996 period, but conclude that it is challenging for Sri Lanka to produce a robust and accurate reference level due to the lack of nationally based inventories. We find that the majority of forest clearing (87%) is due to small-scale, rainfed farming, with the two other major drivers being rice and tea cultivation. Further, Sri Lankan revenues from REDD+ participation could be substantial, but they are sensitive to REDD+ policy transaction cost, highly uncertain timber revenues, and particularly the carbon price paid for emission reductions. The latter needs to be higher than $5-10/tCO² if there are to be substantial incentives for Sri Lanka to participate in REDD+. There is, however, a large gap in the knowledge of deforestation drivers that needs to be filled if Sri Lanka is to formulate an effective policy response to forest degradation in REDD+.

For successful REDD+ implementation in Sri Lanka to happen, technological assistance, readiness assistance, and continued political momentum are crucial.

Link to the article on external webpage.

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