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CIFOR Releases Studies and Briefs on REDD+ Ahead of Cancun

November 2010: The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has produced a selection of studies and guidebooks related to country specific analyses and methods for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks).

In "A guide to learning about livelihood impacts of REDD+," the authors describe research design and mapping of causal chains of projects to gather information on how REDD+ interventions affect social welfare. It calls for the use of a mixed methods approach that employs impact evaluation methods to quantify impacts. The designs aim to establish whether observed changes in social welfare are the result of project interventions. It examines approaches to identifying counterfactuals and controls. The guide includes technical worksheets and a bibliography of toolkits, methods and research.

The "Technical guidelines for research on REDD+ project sites with survey instruments and code book" provides: a key reference document for members of research teams; a means for outside experts to understand and provide critical feedback on studies; a guide to enable non-CIFOR collaborators to perform research; a source of information for REDD+ proponents on research activities; a way for donors to better understand what they are funding; and a source of information on methods decisions for team members writing scientific papers. The technical guidelines are a living document to be improved in the course of orientation and implementation.

A report on "The context of REDD+ in Brazil: drivers, agents and institutions" describes the history of Amazonian settlement and efforts over the past two decades to reduce deforestation. It notes constraints associated with the effectiveness of law enforcement capacity and corruption related to the timber industry. The report highlights the need for coordination between national and decentralized government efforts, as well as with agribusiness, mining, transportation and energy infrastructure sectors. The report underscores Brazil's capacity to monitor land-use change and the challenges relating to insecure land tenure. It describes the likelihood of success for various approaches to REDD+ implementation. It provides an overview of the context in which national REDD+ strategies are being developed and an assessment of efficiency, efficacy and equity of execution of REDD+ strategies.

A paper on "Review of existing methods for carbon accounting" reviews existing methods for carbon accounting for forest-based bioenergy development. It describes the three-tiered approach in the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines, and the EU Renewable Energy Directive methodology. It highlights the necessity of: using Tier 2 or Tier 3 methods to calculate carbon stock change; including dead wood and litter pools in estimating emissions; and using a linear approximation over the first rotation period. The report notes that the differences between results derived from the four accounting methods are attributable to variations in assumptions of above-ground biomass.

A report on "REDD+ politics in the media: a case study from Indonesia" examines national media reports and notes that the discourse pits REDD+ conservation against economic growth fueled by land conversion. It describes the groups driving both sides of the REDD+ debate in Indonesia, namely Forestry, Environment and Agriculture ministries, and provinces that have embraced REDD+ and those that prefer to rely on agriculture. The report discusses the challenges faced by journalists reporting on information that they do not understand.

The policy brief on "Actors and landscape changes in tropical Latin America: Challenges for REDD+ design and implementation" identifies five dominant drivers of landscape change: growth of agribusiness; expansion of traditional cattle ranching; slow growth of small-scale agriculture; logging in production forest frontiers; and resurgence of traditional agro-extractive economies. The paper highlights that the trends are driven by global markets and national policies. It calls for differentiated policy measures for agricultural development, forest conservation and poverty alleviation. It underscores the challenges in balancing efficiency and equity concerns in distribution of economic incentives. The paper stresses that a "one-size-fits-all" approach will not deliver and that REDD+ must move beyond compensation of opportunity costs to address underlying structural reasons for resource overuse and underdevelopment in tropical forest areas. CIFOR is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Many of these publications will be discussed at side events at the UNFCCC Cancun Climate Change Conference. [A Guide to Learning about Livelihood Impacts of REDD+]  [Technical Guidelines for Research on REDD+ Project Sites with Survey Instruments and Code Book]  [The Context of REDD+ in Brazil: Drivers, Agents, and Institutions] [Review of Existing Methods for Carbon Accounting] [REDD+ Politics in the Media: a Case Study from Indonesia] [Actors and Landscape Changes in Tropical Latin America: Challenges for REDD+ Design and Implementation]