Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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12.6 Examples of Conditions and Policies that Facilitate Technology Transfer

What policies, measures and other preconditions help facilitate technology transfer in the forestry sector with climate change benefits? A brief review of the limited experience suggests that some such facilitating conditions can be identified. Table 12.6 presents a few examples of technology transfer and identifies policy, socio-economic, or technological conditions that helped facilitate the successful transfer of new practices.

Table 12.6 Examples of Policies, Measures and Conditions That Facilitate Forestry Technology Transfer with Climate Change Benefits.
Technology Transfer Example Facilitating Policies, Measures or Conditions in Place Contribution to Overcoming Barriers and Implementing the Transfer
Government initiated
FACE Foundation (of Dutch Electricity Generating Board) for the development of efficient propogation of native dipterocarp high-value timber from cuttings, not seedlings, in Sabah, Malaysia FACE has high GHG emissions and expects high energy production GHG mitigation costs, and high carbon taxes. Netherlands has high vulnerability to sea level rise. FACE started a carbon forestry programme in 1990, planned to undertake forest plantings on 150,000 ha of new forest to absorb the Generating Board's GHG emissions. FACE contracted Innoprise Corp. of the Sabah Foundation to establish 5,000 ha of dipterocarps. Propagation was limited by supply of seedlings that flowered only every few years (Jones, 1996).
Private Sector initiated
Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) project, Innoprise Corp., Sabah, Malaysia. (Pinard and Putz, 1996; Putz and Pinard, 1993; Jones, 1996). RIL techniques developed in Australia; transferred to Malaysia by US experts. US Energy Policy Act of 1992 led US utility NEEP to start project in 1992. Sabah has extremely high timber royalties, but high rates of residual stand damage during harvest (Miranda et al., 1992). US utility funded improved mapping, retraining of loggers in directional felling techniques and skid road planning, carbon data collection, and training and tools for carbon benefit analysis. US utilities began to seek low-cost carbon offsets after 1992. Sabah forestry regulations, and very high rent capture in forest concessions, helped Innoprise open to innovations to reduce residual tree damage, raising profits in later harvests.Sabah State government includes RIL techniques in new logging regulations, 1998.
Community initiated
Deforestation reduction in indigenous villages, Chiapas, Mexico. Scolel Te project (de Jong, et al., 1997; Tipper and de Jong, 1998) SEMARNAP federal agency identified rural land tenure stabilisation, and carbon forestry projects, as objectives for Chiapas, due to insurgency movement Academic researchers from UK brought computer models of forest growth and carbon benefits, monitoring methods, funding for remote sensing analysis of deforestation trends, and training to regional institute ECOSUR. Analysis of carbon sequestration potential practices performed after farmers identified candidate practices.

The patterns and relative ease or difficulty of transfer of forestry technologies with climate change mitigation benefits largely have been guided by three major factors. The first is national government's position and policies on climate change, emerging in the context of the UNFCCC Convention and the proposed Kyoto Protocol. These have provided signals, if not clear economic or policy drivers, of potential future incentive, regulatory, tax, or other policies to reduce GHG emissions in Annex I countries, and to encourage or inhibit GHG mitigation activities in CEITs and developing countries. The second factor is national economic and forest policies, especially relating to forest concessions, timber production, and exports. The third factor is competitiveness of new technologies, in terms of offering enhanced efficiency and cost savings.

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 in the U.S. established a voluntary programme for companies to report GHG emissions reduction activities. U.S. electric utility companies began to contract with private and NGO partners like The Nature Conservancy and World Resources Institute, to identify and fund pilot carbon offset projects (Dixon et al., 1994; Panayotou et al., 1994). It added capability to assess natural forest management and preserved areas, and led to the implementation of training and methodology development programmes in Belize (Belize, 1997) and Bolivia, where informal climate policies were receptive to cooperation. Private utilities seek cost-effective and reduced-risk delivery of tonnes of carbon. Dual camera aerial videography is currently being field tested or deployed in forest management or carbon offset projects in Ohio (USA), Indonesia, and Bolivia, as a means of improving the accuracy, and decreasing the costs of carbon estimates and monitoring.

Examples of enabling conditions for a few selected technologies are presented in Table 12.7 (Chapter 4 provides an general overview on the role of enabling environments for technology transfer). The selection of the mitigation technology to be utilised is likely to require, the presence of specific types of policies, measures, and economic considerations. Similarly, the type of mitigation activity will largely determine the kind of technologies likely to be transferred by private, public, or multilateral entities participating in the activity.

Table 12.7 Selected Climate Change Mitigation Technologies: Examples of Candidate Technologies for Transferal, and Facilitating Policy or Conditions
Technology, Practice or System Candidate Technologies and Tools for Transferal (examples) Potential Facilitating Policies or Conditions (examples)
Deforestation reduction via policy changes
  1. remote sensing imagery and analysis capability;
  2. forest and agricultural sector economic models and analytic training;
  3. database management and compliance enforcement training
  1. removal of government subsidies for forest conversion;
  2. tax or other incentives for afforestation;
  3. capability to enforce legislation or rules on forest conversion
Formation of protected areas
  1. remote sensing;
  2. natural resource and biodiversity assessment techniques;
  3. new economic opportunities, e.g., ecotourism, butterfly farming
  1. policy expanding protected areas;
  2. commitment to sustainable development;
  3. community support for resource management
  1. advanced silvicultural and genetic stock techniques;
  2. seedling production methods and facilities
  1. incentives for reforestation;
  2. incentives for maintenance of reforested areas;
  3. community support and land tenure
Short rotation forestry for biofuels
  1. advanced silvicultural and genetic stock techniques;
  2. harvesting equipment;
  3. biomass combustion or gasification technology
  1. electric power purchase agreements, and grid access, available to small producers;
  2. removal of subsidies for rural fossil fuel use
Reduced impact logging
  1. forest management and carbon estimation software;
  2. low-impact logging equipment;
  3. directional felling and skid road design training
  1. forest concessions granted over long timeframes, with environmental regulations;
  2. forest polices to increase rent capture from concessions

Costs involved in Technology Transfer: The cost and funding of technology transfer varies by technology and the biophysical, economic and policy setting in which it is deployed. Generally, technologies are more likely to be transferred if they are cost-effective relative to existing practices, if the cost savings benefit the technology provider directly or indirectly, and if the relative ease of transferal is high (e.g., Panayotou et al., 1994). The incentives for investor companies or governments are high whenever the forest concession or timber production policies, or rent capture demands of alternative forestry practices are likely to confer benefits (public, social welfare, environmental or private sector profit benefits) (Gillis,1992; Vincent and Binkley, 1992). Financial conditions that favour the transfer of new technologies might include both low initial costs but demonstrated benefits (e.g., reduced impact logging, if existing harvest equipment can be used; Putz and Pinard, 1993); and conditions where low to high initial costs are offset by high investor confidence in recovery of investment (e.g., more efficient milling equipment in a mill owned by a private investor with a secure, long-term concession or lease; Vincent and Binkley, 1992). Technologies that are developed by public or nonprofit institutions, especially analytic and resource management innovations like carbon estimation software or methods, incorporating high intellectual but low capital inputs, tend to be transferred readily and early (Brown et al., 1997).

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