Profiting from conservation: The UN-REDD Program.

Photo by permanently scatterbrained |

Photo by permanently scatterbrained |

President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address earlier this year was bold and inspiring. One issue highlighted in his speech, noticeably absent on the campaign trail, was climate change. He spoke of a future that includes sustainability and will require global cooperation and a change in the fundamental structures that govern the energy market. One change that is already underway, and will continue to gain momentum as resources are focused on mitigation and adaption, is the United Nation (UN) initiative for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

This issue is significant because the anthropogenic greenhouse effect leading to global climate change is inextricably linked to the world’s forests especially in developing countries where approximately half the of world’s forested area is located. The UN‐REDD Programme has 46 partner countries working together to conserve forests that would have otherwise been destroyed by commercial logging or slash and burn clearing techniques for agricultural production.

Under the UN-REDD program, forest conservation projects can quality for a Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) quantifying their emissions reductions and earn credits that can be sold to developed countries. The profit made from the sale of emissions credits is recycled back into the local communities where the conservation projects are located, empowering them to make lasting changes through capacity building activities such as school and medical facility construction. This is a win‐win situation for both partners involved in the project: developed countries can offset their emissions to mitigate the exacerbation of climate change, and developing countries can profit sustainability from their own natural resources without exploiting them.

Increasing or preserving biomass as a tool for emissions reduction is an innovate concept which focuses on the preservation of natural resources themselves instead of technological interventions to mitigate their exploitation. The partnership created between developed and developing countries also emphasizes that everyone has a role to play in ensuring this planet will be capable of sustaining the lives of future generations. How are you going to work with people across the world to make it a greener, cleaner place?


Schoene, D & Bernier, P. (2012). Adapting forest and forests to climate change: Achallenge to change the paradigm. Forest Policy and Economics, 24: 12-19.



Brittany Benson