I recently read an article in Ecosystem Marketplace—“2014: the year in forest carbon”—that highlighted some of the successes in reducing tropical deforestation last year. Companies, organizations and governments made new pledges to end deforestation; buyer interest in avoided deforestation offsets tripled; and the Green Climate Fund passed the $10 billion threshold that can lead to a meaningful impact on climate change.
Reflecting back on year, I agree that good progress was made on the tropical forest front, but—as the Marketplace article recognizes—there is still much to be done, and reversing global deforestation remains a limited-time opportunity.
The coming years will be critical in determining whether we can successfully elevate project-based work and solutions to even larger pieces of land—transforming landscapes for the better and further normalizing low emissions development in countries rich with forests.
This expansion of low emissions development—known as a jurisdictional or landscape approach—can turn spirited commitments into actual results. Success, however, will require close cooperation and coordination between regional and national governments, indigenous groups, private companies and civil society.
I saw exactly this type of cooperation in action in Indonesia late last year, where the country is working to align economic incentives for sustainable land use with their needs to protect their environment and combat climate change.
On Indonesia’s island of Borneo—a place rich with biodiversity and also booming development—the district of Berau is combining an improvement in sustainable working conditions (including introducing integrated land-use planning, improving governance and increasing engagement with key players) with an increase in the scale of site-level activities through stronger community-led approaches, expanded certified timber and reduced-impact logging practices, and a new sustainable oil palm strategy.
But, how can we catalyze more collaboration and action at this landscape level?