Global conservation of forests

View on forest

Forest area near San Martin (Peru); Photo: Michael Hüttner

The 22nd United Nations Climate Change Conference began on 7 November in the Moroccan city of Marrakech; today’s theme is ‘Degradation of Forests and Land’. As part of its International Climate Initiative (IKI), the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) has been supporting projects in partner countries since 2008 that contribute to the conservation and expansion of forests and other natural carbon sinks. Up to now, 103 projects in this area have been supported with a total funding volume of EUR 331 million.

IKI also supports comprehensive action plans for near-natural restoration of degraded land and forests. As one of the first countries to do so, Germany has already provided results-based financing through REDD+: for example, BMUB paid EUR 9 million so that forest conservation in the Brazilian state of Acre could verifiably save several million tonnes of CO2. These payments were then invested in climate change mitigation in Brazil in order to combat the causes of deforestation and help around 1,000 families expand their income alternatives.

More than 22 million hectares of the largest existing rainforests on Earth stretch across the region of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. A large portion of the island of Borneo is known as the ‘Heart of Borneo’ (HoB) because of its species-rich tropical rainforests. An IKI project implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is working in an approx. 1.13 million hectare area in and around the transboundary HoB forest corridor between Indonesia and Malaysia. Together with the private sector (for example palm oil producers), local communities and indigenous groups, the governments in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan and the Malaysian state of Sarawak are developing and implementing a land use plan and a Green Economy Action Plan.

Another IKI project, this time implemented by the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative, is working on forest and landscape restoration in East Africa. With the support of the Kenyan and Ethiopian Environment Ministries, the project has mapped degraded areas across both countries that can be rehabilitated. In direct cooperation with communities, the project operators are carrying out the rehabilitation of landscapes on pilot areas in both countries. In Kenya, the project helped open 22 community tree nurseries that are tended by over 300 members of the community. They have planted 100,000 native tree saplings on demonstration sites up to now and over 18,000 seedlings for food crops on agricultural land. In Ethiopia, 467,800 trees were planted on a demonstration site and water management was improved through the construction of dams and ditches.

Finally, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) is working in Latin America on mobilising private capital to combat deforestation and improve livelihoods in rural areas through public-private partnerships. The project is supporting the local partners in drafting sustainable investment plans that, in addition to considering business factors, take account of the socio-ecological and economic costs and benefits of the value chains of various land-use methods.
The project is working with the cocoa value chain in San Martín, Peru. Over a ten year period, the project is reaching 12,650 smallholders through training courses and informing them about improved cultivation systems. Yields are expected to increase from 750 kg per hectare to 2,200 kg per hectare through these measures and the introduction of agroforestry systems. This changeover creates nearly 6,500 new jobs and increases incomes by more than USD 21 million. In addition, the improved cultivation systems have had positive impacts on local ecosystem services, as agroforestry systems can capture more CO2, improve soil fertility and limit the accumulation of pesticides.