Realising REDD in Africa : risk, feasibility and supporting policy

Knowles, Tony (2012-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Responding appropriately to anthropogenic climate change presents a considerable challenge to humankind. Projected changes in climate are anticipated to affect the world's natural systems, human health and economies in many ways. Consequently, there is an urgent need to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures that are appropriate and efficient. This dissertation focuses on aspects of risk and feasibility associated with land use based climate change mitigation. First, it reviews policy, implementation and incentive issues that are key to promoting permanence and reducing the risk of leakage associated with reducing emissions from deforestation and forest deforestation (REDD1) in sub-Saharan Africa. Secondly, it assesses the transaction costs associated with the implementation of avoided deforestation and reforestation activities and their effect on the financial feasibility of ventures located in woodland and rangeland systems. Thirdly, it explores the potential impact of biophysical risk factors (such as fire) on the outcome of REDD activities in two chapters. The first risk chapter introduces the notion of biophysical risk and reviews the risk of fire to REDD activities located in important African vegetation types. The second chapter on risk uses the Century Ecosystem Program and published climate projection data to assess the effect of projected changes in temperature, rainfall and atmospheric carbon dioxide on the outcome of REDD activities. The results indicate that, among the biophysical risk variables assessed, fire may not present a major risk to REDD activities located in African woodland, savanna and grassland systems. In contrast, fire may present a significant risk in moist forests where unprecedented dry periods may allow fire to occur in a system where it has previously been absent. The analysis of the affect of climate change found that changes in climate are generally predicted to lead to an increase in carbon stocks and sequestration rates for the vegetation types assessed. Exceptions do occur, such as the modeled effect on nutrient-rich savannas, which require further investigation. The analysis of transaction costs associated with REDD activities illustrated that such costs may inhibit the feasibility of smaller-scale activities, especially in ecosystems outside of moist forests with relatively low carbon stocks and associated revenues. Whereas the proposed creation of national-scale capacity may reduce some transaction costs to a certain extent, there is a clear need to better understand the true cost of REDD activities. In terms of required supporting policy and implementation capacity, it is noted 1) that multi-criteria land use planning is particularly important in reducing permanence risk, 2) that the scope of recognized land use activities that reduce atmospheric GHG needs to be expanded if the benefits of REDD are to be fully realised and 3) that informal land tenure may not require transformation prior to successful, sustainable implementation. A review of the appropriateness of community-based forest carbon monitoring found that such an approach presents significant cost savings while providing local employment and incentive opportunities. Exposure to such initiatives to date indicated that the quality of data collected is adequate and sufficiently robust to fulfill project and national-scale reporting and verification requirements.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Antropogeniese klimaatsverandering hou daadwerklike uitdagings vir die mensdom in. Huidige voorspellings dui daarop dat klimaatsverandering natuurlike sisteme, gesondheid en die ekonomie op 'n verskeidenheid van vlakke gaan beinvloed. Daar is dus 'n dringende nood aan korrekte en effektiewe aanpassings- en mitigasie maatstawwe wat geimplementeer kan word. Hierdie proefskrif fokus op die risiko en lewensvatbaarheid van grondgebruiksgebaseerde klimaatsverandering mitigasie. Eerstens gee dit 'n oorsig van die beleids en implementasie dryfvere wat noodsaaklik is vir die bevordering van permanentheid en die verlaging van die risiko van lekkasie wat geassosieer word met verlaagde emissies vanwee degradasie en ontbossing (VEDO2) in sub-Sahara Afrika. Tweedens analiseer dit die transaksiekoste wat geassosieer word met die vermyding van ontbossing en herbebossing en die effek daarvan op die finansiele lewensvatbaarheid van sulke aktiwiteite in bosveld en weiveld. Derdens ondersoek die proefskrif die biofisiese risiko faktore (soos vuur) op die uitslag van VEDO aktiwiteite in twee hoofstukke. Die eerste hoofstuk word ingelei deur 'n ontleding en verklaring van biofisiese risiko en gee dan 'n oorsig oor die risiko van vuur op VEDO projekte in belangrike plantegroei-tipes in Afrika. Die tweede hoofstuk maak gebruik van die Century Ekostelsel Program om die impak van voorspelde veranderings in temperatuur, reenval en atmosferiese koolstofdioksied op VEDO aktiwiteite te evalueer. Die resultate dui aan dat onder die biofisiese risiko faktore wat ondersoek is, vuur nie so „n belangrike risiko inhou vir VEDO projekte in die bosveld, savanna en grasveld plantegroeitipes in Afrika nie. In teenstelling hou vuur 'n groot risiko in vir nat woude waar ongekende droeë tydperke kan veroorsaak dat vuur wel mag voorkom in „n stelsel waar dit voorheen afwesig was. Die analise op die effek van klimaatsverandering het bevind dat veranderinge in klimaat tipies sal lei tot a toename in koolstof voorrade en verhoogde sekwestrasie tempos vir die plantegroeitipes wat geevalueer is. Daar was egter uitsonderings, soos byvoorbeeld die gemodeleerde impakte op nutrientryke savannas wat verdere ondersoek benodig. Die analise ten opsigte van die transaksiekoste wat gepaardgaan met VEDO aktiwiteite illustreer dat sulke kostes dalk die lewensvatbaarheid van kleinerskaal projekte mag benadeel, veral in ekostelsels anders as nat woude met relatief lae koolstof voorrade en geassosieerde inkomste. Die voorgestelde skepping van kapasiteit op 'n nasionale vlak mag dalk transaksie koste verlaag tot 'n mate, maar daar is duidelik 'n behoefte om beter insigte te verkry oor die ware kostes van VEDO aktiwiteite. Wat betref die vereiste ondersteunende beleid en implimentasie kapasiteit is daar bevind dat 1) multi-kriteria grondgebruik beplanning uiters belangrik is in die verlaging van permanentheidsrisiko, 2) die omvang van erkende grondgebruiks aktiwiteite moet uitgebrei word om ten volle voordeel te trek uit VEDO, 3) dat informele grondbesit dalk nie transformasie vereis voor suksesvolle, volhoubare implementasie nie. „n Oorsig oor die aanvaarbaarheid van gemeenskapsgebaseerde woudkoolstofmonitering het gevind dat so 'n benadering tot groot kostebesparings lei terwyl dit ook plaaslike werkskepping bevorder en dien as dryfveer vir projekte. Blootstelling aan sulke inisiatiewe tot op hede dui aan dat die kwaliteit van die data wat ingesamel is voldoen aan projek- sowel as nasionale vlak verslaggewingsvereistes.

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