TOPIX - Crown Management Jakarta Capital - - Indonesia Field Report III
Posted in the Business News Forum
Since: Feb 13
#1 Feb 25, 2013
And here lies one of the potential difficulties with REDD+. The payoff goes to either the national government or a local government. But surrounding the two and between the two, there are often complex webs of powerful vested economic actors. Even equitable and proportional transfers between the national government and local governments do not guarantee that local government officials will develop the muscle and wherewithal to resist corruption and coercion from powerful economic groups, particularly if those economic groups are the military and police, like in Indonesia. Nor will the money necessarily make its way into the hands of the artisanal loggers and miners. In other words, the domestic payoff transfer and internal distribution of the money and transferred resources will affect the REDD+ effectiveness as much as their international component.
Such problems with government compensation to local forest owners for preserving natural forests have been experienced even outside of the carbon schemes. If monitoring and law enforcement is poor and the local community places little intrinsic value on forest and biodiversity preservation, local communities will often collect the money and log anyway, or in other cases face invasion by logging companies from outside the community. Similarly, if payments are set too much below the value of logging the forest, even compensated owners can be tempted to participate in illegal logging while collecting no-cutting rents. And making sure that the money reaches the forest-dependent communities and is not usurped by corrupt powerbrokers is often a challenge.
Another aspect of REDD+ that could have important effects is developing local capacities to better manage forests. But those better sustainable practices will once again run into local economic interests that either need to be bought via the REDD+ transfers or coerced by law enforcement to comply with regulations. What the REDD+ initiatives have already accomplished in Indonesia is to force officials in the Forestry Ministry a notoriously corrupt institution which regards its task as making as much money out of forests as possible, rather than preserving forests and biodiversityn to conduct much better assessments of existing forests and even publish that data. Previous self-monitoring and data collection on deforestation has been rather unreliable in Indonesia.
Critically, the price structure of the payoff schemes will be a significant determinant of their effectiveness not only for capturing carbon, but also of preserving the worlds biodiversity. Surprisingly, a certain price structure could have a negative effect on the preservation of natural forests, and the failure to incorporate biodiversity considerations in forest management designs could be compounded by emerging carbon-for-forest payoff schemes. In some countries and under some circumstances, where there is strong government commitment, successful cooptation of key logging industry stakeholders, and effective law enforcement, such financial transfers can halt deforestation or even expand existing forest cover. But for that to be likely, the compensation payments need to be far greater for preserving natural, and especially primary, forests than for capturing carbon by degraded forests or replanted forests or timber plantations. And these differentials with by far the most compensation going for primary forests, smaller amounts for secondary forests, and the least for non-native monoculture plantations need to be sufficiently great to steer government decisions toward keeping forests intact. Without such a price structure in place, with any tree accorded an equal or similar carbon-capture value, governments could be tempted to maximize profits by intensely logging their forests first and then signing up for carbon offsets for halting further deforestation
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