Nepal's stake in reducing rmissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is high owing to its vulnerability to both climate variability and any mitigation strategies aimed at reducing emission through forest conservation. Because of its natural resource-based economy, REDD and similar mechanisms will have huge implications in Nepal (potential benefits and risks). Since the large population relies heavily on natural resources, where strategies for mitigation and adaptation overlap, REDD and similar mechanisms must fall within the broader framework of adaptation. Existing frameworks must be broadened in order to benefit the Nepalese people: rather than focussing narrowly on additionality for carbon financing, overall enhancement of forest must be taken into account. The criteria of permanence and no leakage are also difficult to meet, looking at the dynamic economic and livelihoods contexts that affect the values and choices of local people dependent on forest.
Considering these conditions, Nepal would not benefit from REDD alone and therefore should be lobbying for REDD+, which includes enhancing carbon stocks, and even REDD++ which looks at carbon in all land uses. A critical issue is that since millions of small farmers and other rural inhabitants interact with land in a variety of ways for multiple objectives, a simple distinction of 'forest' or 'non-forest' has little relevance. The attempt is for payments for sustainable land use with productive conservation where net biological productivity will be enhanced, while also allowing flexibility for local forest owners to adapt to changing conditions affecting needs, preferences and values.
There are limitations to a sole focus on forest-based mitigation approaches such as REDD and hence the proposition of a broader concept of reducing emissions from all land uses (REALU). The narrow focus on forest-based REDD omits agriculture and therefore misses huge opportunities. Similarly, it fails to address many technical issues, such as leakage and permanence, and so would be unable to effectively curb emissions in the long term. A more comprehensive approach including all land uses will minimise technical errors and effectively reduce emissions. This report attempts to resolve the apparent dichotomy between adaptation and mitigation by highlighting how sustainable resources management simultaneously reduces emissions, enhances food security and increases ecosystem resilience. The mosaic of farm and forests and traditional integrated farming provides a unique context where mitigation and adaptation go together.
Joshi L, Sharma N, Ojha P, Khatri DB, Pradhan R, Karky B, Pradhan U, Karki S. 2010. Moving beyond REDD: Reducing emissions from all land uses in Nepal. Final national report. Nairobi: ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins.