Experts’ Meeting to Share Progress on Economic Valuation Related Studies in the Forestry Sector

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Introduction

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programmes seek to reverse the trend in forest resource depletion, improve terrestrial carbon stocks, conserve forests, stimulate sustainable management of forests, and enhance forest carbon stocks.  REDD+ programmes hope to provide economic incentives to countries and local communities to sequester forest carbon using performance based management principles.  

Participating countries must reduce deforestation and forest degradation, and/or enhance carbon stocks to receive REDD+ funding. However, forest-dependent communities may have to sacrifice benefits (opportunity costs) they receive from deforestation and forest degradation and make additional contributions to forest management to enhance and conserve carbon stocks.  In addition, the cost of implementing new management strategies, their transaction costs are implied - the things that hinder communities from participating in REDD processes. 

Due to the importance of economic valuation for REDD+ designing and implementation, REDD Implementation Centre has commissioned few studies related to economics of the forestry sector.

Objective of the meeting: 

The objective of the meeting is to share progress on the studies being conducted in Nepal to foster mutual learning on economic valuation in the forestry sector. 

Three researchers will present their studies, which will be followed by a discussion. 

Presenter 1: Bishnu Prasad Sharma 

Title: Community Response to REDD+ Incentives and Insights for achieving REDD+ Goals

This study aims to analyse the impact of REDD+ incentive payment on forest carbon and livelihood in the community forests in Nepal. The findings from a rigorous experimental study conducted in three districts of Nepal using a ‘before-after-treatment-control’ design with REDD+ incentive payment showed that community forest user group (CFUGs) have somewhat stabilised themselves with well-defined rules for conservation and harvesting for livelihood needs. Sequestering additional carbon as aimed by REDD+ might need extra effort for activities to shift people from forests to more renewable energy sources such as biogas for household need. Likewise, application of scientific forest management in the community forestry sector could also be an effective means for achieving REDD+ goals. 

Presenter 2: Narendra Chand

Title: Provision of ecosystem services and their trade-offs and synergies in a watershed of Nepal

The ecosystem based management approach recognises that ecological and social systems are firmly intermingled and sustainability only occurs when both systems are taken into consideration simultaneously. Various conservation and development activities have been conducted to enhance supply of ecosystem services (ESs) and the livelihoods of the people. However, outcomes are not as expected. Government interventions are more focused on conservation; hence, wellbeing of community is usually neglected. An approach that takes into account both social as well as ecological well beings is essential to address this issue. However, the approach requires spatially explicit values of ecosystem services and association among various ESs and goods. 

Presenter 3: Rajesh Rai

Title: Estimating an Opportunity Cost of Avoiding Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Nepal

With the objective of building a business case for a transformation in forest planning, management and monitoring towards a low carbon development path and a green economy, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and South Asia Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) have conducted a socio-economic valuation study on the opportunity costs and carbon and non-carbon benefits to local communities from conserving carbon through reduced forest degradation and deforestation in the landscape. The study was conducted in different forest management regime. The study was supported by United Nations Environment Programme to the countries under UN-REDD Programme work area 6 ‘REDD+ investments and strategies and a green economy transformation are mutually reinforcing’.