In addition to the several generic barriers that are discussed in Section
5.3, the forestry sector faces land use regulation and other macroeconomic
policies that usually favour conversion to other land uses such as agriculture,
cattle ranching, and urban industry. Insecure land tenure regimes, and tenure
rights and subsidies favouring agriculture or livestock are among the most important
barriers for ensuring sustainable management of forests as well as sustainability
of carbon (C) abatement.
The Special Report on Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry (IPCC, 2000a)
notes significant opportunities for forestry and other land-use change activities
to sequester carbon. Afforestation and reforestation activities could capture
between 197 to 584MtC/yr in all countries under the IPCC definitional
scenario between 2008 to 2012. The estimated deforestation, however, would negate
this sequestration potential. Halting deforestation offers additional opportunity
to reduce emissions. Forest management and agroforestry options offer a potential
to capture another 700MtC/yr by 2010. Capturing these opportunities, however,
entails significant hurdles of the types noted below.
Lack of Technical Capability
In many developing countries, the national and state forest departments play
a predominant role in all aspects of forest protection, regeneration, and management.
Currently lack of funding and technical capabilities in most tropical countries
limit generation of information required for planning and implementation of
forestry mitigation projects. Apart from a few exceptions, developing countries
do not have adequate capacity to participate in international research projects
and to adapt and transfer results of the research to the local level. Research
on forests has not only suffered from a lack of resources; it has not been sufficiently
interdisciplinary to provide an integrated view of forestry (FAO, 1997). However,
the majority of the forestry research institutions do not function as R&D
laboratories as they do in industry, and the main focus is on research and not
technology development and dissemination. Unlike in the energy or transportation
sectors, the technologies or even the management systems are going to be forest
type or country specific.
Lack of Capacity for Monitoring Carbon Stocks
Forestry-sector GHG mitigation activities and joint implementation projects
generally face a wide range of technical issues that challenge their credibility.
The twin objectives of using forestry to mitigate climate change and managing
forests sustainably do pose a challenge in monitoring and verifying benefits
from carbon offset projects in the sector (Andrasko, 1997). While methods generally
exist to monitor carbon stocks in vegetation, soils and products, operational
systems that could be readily implemented for this purpose are lacking in all
countries (IPCC, 2000a). Monitoring and verification are key elements in gaining
the credibility needed to capture the potential benefits of forestry sector
response options, particularly in reducing deforestation (Fearnside, 1997).
While this is a generic barrier to deforestation reduction initiatives, it also
represents an opportunity for transferring the technologies needed to monitor
land-use change and carbon stocks and flows. Among the mitigation options, there
is a higher degree of certainty on reforestation and/or afforestation, less
on forest management, and even less on forest conservation.
Under the GEF-UNDP sponsored Asian Least-Cost Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy
(ALGAS), the US Country Studies Program (Sathaye et al., 1997a), and other forestry
sector capacity building and analytical activities have identified mitigation
options and technologies. Furthermore, the policies to promote technology transfer
have been identified (e.g., regulations, financial incentives) and sometimes
implemented (e.g., Mexico, Bolivia). Under the UNFCCC, each party is required
to communicate a national inventory of GHG emissions by sources and sinks. A
large portion of the parties has completed this task and is trying to understand
forestry sector emissions and removals by sinks, which has improved dramatically.
Many parties are taking steps to manage forest systems as C reservoirs (Kokorin,
1997; Sathaye et al., 1997a).
As a result of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, many developing and transitional
countries are developing National Climate Change Action Plans (NCCAPs) which
incorporate forestry-sector mitigation and adaptation options (Benioff et al.,
1997). No regrets adaptation and mitigation options
have been identified that are consistent with national sustainable development
goals. Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Nigeria, and Venezuela
all have developed very specific forestry sector climate action plans.
The Russian Federation has a progressive forestry sector climate change action
plan (Kokorin, 1997), although its implementation is uncertain under the current
economic conditions. Based on current economic and climate change scenarios
several mitigation and adaptation scenarios have emerged: (1) creating economic
mechanisms to increase forestry sector effectiveness and efficiency in logged
(removal) areas, (2) providing assistance for forestation in the Europe-Ural
region, (3) promoting fire management and protection for central and northeastern
Siberia, and (4) limiting clear-cut logging in southern Siberia. These steps
are significant since Russia contains approximately 22% of the worlds
Forestry mitigation projects are likely to be largely funded by Annex I countries
and implemented in non-Annex I countries and EITs. Technology, including management
systems, is an integral part of all projects funded by bilateral or multilateral
or commercial agencies. Thus, promotion of mitigation projects also automatically
promotes the flow of technology from donor agencies or countries to host countries
or agencies. In fact, technology transfer is already happening. Forestry sector
options are of relatively low cost compared to those in the energy sector (Sathaye
and Ravindranath, 1998). But there are some problems and uncertainties regarding
the incremental C abated: its sustainability, measurement, verification, and
certification. All forestry sector GHG mitigation projects must ensure that
they meet accepted standards for sustainable forest management (Sathaye et al.,
1997b). Independent verification of C abatement would help to increase the credibility
and funding of forestry-sector mitigation projects.