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Available scientific literature indicates forest degradation emissions are of a similar magnitude to those from deforestation. The potential for further emissions from degradation is an especially pressing concern in the Asia-Pacific region, where many forest areas are intertwined with highly populated areas and intensive timber harvesting. Including forest degradation in a reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) mechanism will be crucial to ensure that both the Asia-Pacific and global forest sectors realize their full potential to mitigate climate change.
As part of an effort to distill available knowledge and experience on REDD within the region, 11 participants from seven Asia-Pacific countries convened at a RECOFTC-hosted workshop on 4-5 May 2009 to discuss options for incorporating degradation into national REDD baselines. Discussions also highlighted the importance of local people and decentralized forest management systems in addressing and assessing forest degradation in the context of REDD.
- Including forest degradation in REDD is both feasible and essential for effectively combating climate change.
- Assessing forest degradation will be more complex and costly than assessing deforestation alone and will require additional resources to develop human and technological capacity in the region.
- In addressing forest degradation, countries should involve local people, improve forest governance, and build on existing efforts to promote sustainable forest management.
- Community forestry and other decentralized forest management systems will be central to national efforts to address forest degradation, and can mobilize many local stakeholders to assess degradation and monitor carbon stocks.