This Week In Forest Carbon: California Universities Serve As REDD+ Wingmen

Stanford, UCLA, and UC Davis are hosting workshops with the REDD+ Offset Working Group on recommendations to accept REDD+ credits into California’s cap-and-trade system. Further south, the University of California San Diego is launching a program in terrestrial carbon accounting to help scale up the human capital needed to support REDD+ in forest carbon measurements.

Stanford, UCLA, and UC Davis are hosting workshops with the REDD+ Offset Working Group on recommendations to accept REDD+ credits into California’s cap-and-trade system. Further south, the University of California San Diego is launching a program in terrestrial carbon accounting to help scale up the human capital needed to support REDD+ in forest carbon measurements.

This article was originally published in the Forest Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.

4 March 2013 | Tracking terrestrial carbon is the name of the game for this news brief series – and Ecosystem Marketplace is in the midst of doing just that as we continue to survey project developers to inform the 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets report. If you have not already responded and would like to (and be recognized as a featured project and by company name and web link at the bottom of a news brief intro) contact  Daphne Yin  in our Carbon Program to find out if there’s still time!  

On to the news! According to  preliminary findings  from Forest Trends’ REDD+ Expenditures Tracking initiative (REDD X), very little of existing REDD+ commitments pledged by funds, private investors, private foundations, and others – mostly earmarked for REDD+ readiness efforts – has touched the ground, let alone made significant impact in mobilizing long-term private sector investment or realizing emissions reductions in the forestry and land use sector.

With this in mind, Michael Jenkins of Ecosystem Marketplace parent organization Forest Trends asks, “How do we improve REDD+ finance, both in terms of scale and efficiency?”


In his latest editorial, Jenkins stresses the need for a bi- or multi-lateral institution to serve as a central buyer for forestry and land-use carbon credits (much like the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s Carbon Fund is set up to do) and develop new contract and project/jurisdictional finance structures that can scale up payments based on performance. This is particularly crucial in the short to medium term prior to REDD+ gaining credence in compliance markets.


Read more  on what can be done to scale up REDD+ investments from Michael,  and stay tuned for our online launch of REDD X later this month!


Turning our newsletter lens to California, we find the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW) hard at work fielding feedback from its first workshop and public comments for the draft recommendations it recently released on including REDD+ credits into California’s cap-and-trade scheme. An Ecosystem Marketplace article unpacks the domestic and international importance that state endorsement carries, with insights from the ROW’s technical experts.


One of the main goals of the ROW’s recommendations is “for the California model to be adopted by other cap and trade programs or pay-for-performance strategies, hopefully helping partner jurisdictions become compatible with other systems,” according to ROW member Dan Nepstad, the Amazon Environmental Research Institute’s International Program Director.


California could set a strong precedent for other GHG compliance programs if it decides to allow REDD+ credits into its program. Until or unless other systems provide demand signals, however, the supply of REDD+ credits from partner jurisdictions significantly outweighs prospective demand from California.


With this in mind, the ROW’s recommendations encourage partner jurisdictions to issue credits themselves or register reductions with “third-party programs where a single ‘currency’ could potentially serve a variety of voluntary and regulatory markets,” as the State of Acre has done already. Where jurisdictions remain unable to tap into carbon finance, they need to continue securing financing for own efforts from national, multilateral and bilateral sources.


Keep reading below for these and more forest carbon market news items, hot off the presses. And a special thanks to those organizations that have already contributed complete responses to our 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets survey, including: Agrigeorgia, Anthrotect, Appalachian Mountain Club, Australian Carbon Traders, Bio Assets Ativos Ambientais, BioCarbon Partners, Biofilica, Brinkman & Associates Reforestation, Foundation, Carbon Partnership, Carbon Project Solutions, Carbosur, Clean Air Action Corp, Climate Action Reserve, C-O2 Consultants, Conservation International, ECOTRUST, Emergent Ventures, Forest Carbon Offsets LLC, Forest Finance Service GmbH, GET Carbon, GFA Consulting Group, Green Resources, Greenwood Trading AG, Hib & Co International Togo,  IFS Growth,  Initiative Développement, Iowa Farm Bureau,  Mikro-Tek,  The Nature Conservancy, Pacific Forest Alliance, Plan Vivo Foundation,  PrimaKlima -weltweit- eV, Pronatura Mexico AC, Socio-eCO2nomix-Global, Strategic HSE Systems,  Terraprima,  The Trust for Public Land, World Land Trust, and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. And the list keeps growing! Tune in to our next edition to see who else supported our survey (and played a part in the 2012 marketplace!).


We are still 12 donors away (at the $3K level) from publishing our flagship report again in 2013! To financially support our report, please contact Molly Peters-Stanley, Carbon Program Manager, at [email protected].

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at [email protected].




Ecosystem Marketplace to launch Spanish edition!

In support of Latin America as a leading region for REDD activities and policy experimentation to date – alongside its capacity for PES activities more broadly – on March 4, next Monday, Ecosystem Marketplace is launching our Spanish counterpart,  (Spanish for “Valuing Nature”). This new information platform is designed exclusively to generate and aggregate quality information about valuation of and investment in ecosystem services in Latin America.


Utilizing our broad network of collaborators working with environmental incentives and journalists in the region, Valorando Naturaleza provides:


  • Original news coverage and in depth analysis;
  • Daily news aggregation;
  • Profiles and opinion pieces by leaders in the region;
  • Listings of events, job openings, fellowships, courses, requests for bids and other opportunities;
  • A library of relevant tools and reports.

We hope you will visit often, and inform us of your news by sending us press releases, updates and stories. Use our platform to share your publications, events and opportunities with a broad and extensive audience in the region. Write us at [email protected].


We thank the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) for their support in the launch of this effort to broaden the knowledge and communication between stakeholders using this invaluable tool to finance mitigation and adaptation to climate change.


International Policy

UN-REDD’s latest FPIC

After more than two years of in-depth consultation and analysis, the UN-REDD Programme has published its UN-REDD Programme  Guidelines on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). In support of stronger stakeholder engagement, the guidelines create a framework for REDD actors and practitioners seeking to incorporate FPIC into their projects. The guidelines draw from extensive consultations and piloting with a variety of stakeholders from forest-dependent communities, indigenous peoples, international human rights experts, and governments. The UN-REDD Programme invites practitioners to apply the guidelines and suggest potential updates to the guidelines based on their experience.


A full plate

With the human population expected to exceed nine billion people by 2050, agriculture must reportedly expand an estimated 60 percent by then to “feed the world,” so to speak. Emerging literature and forums of discussion pushed forth by institutions like the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) have been busy promoting agroforestry in the policy space. The FAO recently published a guide on advancing agroforestry in international policy, and is slated to host a conference on  forests, food security, and nutrition this May. The guide stresses that income for farmers is key to sustaining agroforestry systems. Alongside access to markets for agroforestry products, payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes like Costa Rica’s Fonafifo program may secure farmer buy-in by compensating farmers for agroforestry activities.  


US Policy

A green ROW to hoe

Early this month at Stanford University, the REDD+ Offset Working Group (ROW) held the  first of three workshops  on its draft recommendations for accepting REDD+ credits into California’s cap-and-trade scheme, focusing on reference levels; monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV); and additionality. An  Ecosystem Marketplace article  discusses the implications of the recommendations, including insights from the ROW’s technical experts like Dan Nepstad, Steve Schwartzman, and Toby Janson-Smith. The recommendations encourage California’s partner jurisdictions to demonstrate own effort in cutting emissions by setting a baseline lower than the jurisdiction’s reference level. This could potentially lead to a supply that exceeds California offsets demand. The ROW suggests that partner jurisdictions reduce the burden of selling to multiple markets by issuing credits themselves or registering reductions with a third-party carbon standard.


Triton power turned on to REDD

California’s universities have been taking an active supporting role on forest carbon, not only through their involvement in the REDD Offset Working Group’s (ROW) workshops, but also through course offerings. The University of California San Diego has teamed up with the Tropical Forest Group and the World Wildlife Fund to offer a new international certificate program in  Advanced Terrestrial Carbon Accounting, with the aim of expanding the base of practitioners fluent in forest carbon best practices. The program will train professionals on how to measure forest carbon for REDD+ and other climate change initiatives, with methods applicable to a range of schemes across voluntary and compliance markets, commodity certification programs, as well as bilateral and multilateral forest conservation efforts.


Project Development  

Pinjalup passes the test

Three years after Carbon Neutral Australia began rehabilitating the 251 hectare Pinjalup Biodiversity Planting site in Australia’s southwest, the area  passed its 3-year health/survival test  with flying colors. Restoring the area from marginal farmland that was not suitable for crops or grazing, Carbon Neutral reported planting 163,250 seedlings and 57.6kg of seed representing over 113 different native species. Three years later, these plantings are thriving – despite the record drought in 2010. Carbon Neutral says the area is now ready for its next owner, and funds received from the sale of the property will go towards Carbon Neutral’s future ‘Trees for Tomorrow’ revegetation projects in Southwest Australia.


Merlins Wood casts spell across Pakistan

UK-based project developer Merlins Wood recently signed a  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)  with the Sindh Forest Department to raise $8-10 million to develop a REDD+ project for the forestry sector of Sindh province, Pakistan. The project – planned to be developed for both the voluntary and CDM markets – is anticipated to span 50,000 hectares of mangroves, riverine and irrigation plantations, with the MoU covering eight years up through 2010 and extendable up to 30 years. This new agreement follows on the heels of Merlins Wood’s development of a 30-year  REDD+ project in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in partnership with the provincial government, which is intended to inform the development of a nested REDD program.


Tanzania in the REDD

A REDD pilot project in the Kazimzumbwi and Pugu forest reserves on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is stalling out after the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) failed to follow its work plan. The Norwegian Embassy, which signed a four-year contract with WCST, admitted that it had stopped disbursing payments after failing to receive the required financial and auditing reports for the project. Approximately $1.2 million of the $3.9 million deal had been paid out as of December 2011—leaving  $2.7 million in the lurch. Unless things turn around quickly, at the current rate of deforestation, Kazimzumbwi and Pugu forests could be completely destroyed by the end of 2014 and 2017 respectively, according to an estimate by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group.


ICRAF is home free

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) announced its Nairobi, Kenya headquarters carbon neutral last month in what it sees as its first major step toward becoming a fully carbon neutral institution.  ICRAF’s headquarters  offset its emissions for these next two years with credits generated from Wildlife Works’ VCS/CCB-certified Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya, with credits sourced through The CarbonNeutral Company. In conjunction with using offsetting, ICRAF’s headquarters is working to reduce its carbon footprint with a new recycling system and energy-saving lighting, as well as plans to reduce the need for travel by updating its video conferencing system.



National Strategy & Capacity

Artful negotiation

Several companies  have begun clearing forest  in the Republic of Congo in an effort to establish oil palm plantations, as documented in the Rainforest Foundation UK report, Seeds of Destruction. While only 500,000 hectares of forest have been cleared so far, plans to demolish up to 1.6 million hectares are in the pipeline. Norway’s Pension Fund Global found nearly 70% of the first 87,000 hectares earmarked for planting oil palm to be “extremely valuable forest.” The report suggests that REDD efforts have been insufficient in combatting oil palm development in the Congo Basin and highlights a great paradox – parallel negotiations between nations of the Congo Basin with logging companies and on REDD.  


It’s not a matter of “if,” but “whether”

Last week, World Bank and REDD+ stakeholders  vetted a draft submission  of Suriname’s REDD+ “R-PP” – a $14 million proposal for how the forest-rich country would approach REDD+ preparation over a five year period. In Suriname’s case, the preparation phase would serve as a testing ground for the REDD+ mechanism, which the country has not yet decided to fully implement. John Goedschalk, REDD+ project coordinator and director of the Climate Bureau, fielded questions about Suriname’s proposals that have come to typify REDD+ implementation talks – like, “how can the country guarantee that the REDD+ process will be supported regardless of the government in office?” Suriname will grapple with this and other questions as it crafts its final proposal, expected soon after the meeting.


A forest secedes

North Kalimantan’s birth  as Indonesia’s 34th province may have interesting consequences for its non-voting residents: the trees. The new province, located on the island of Borneo, draws a political boundary through rich tropical forest that has recently been threatened by mining, palm oil production, and infrastructure expansion. It also splits the Malinau district off from East Kalimantan; with it a 265,500-hectare  REDD project  developed by Global Eco Rescue, along with Inhutani II, the state-owned logging company, have been redistricted. Now cut off from revenues flowing from its neighbor province, deforestation pressures could intensify in North Kalimantan. In  Mongabay’’s eyes, new districts mean new politicians mean new campaigns to fund.  


Human Dimension


Panama waves adios

Indigenous peoples’ organizations in Panama recently pulled out of the UN-REDD Programme.  A recent letter  from the President and Secretary of  Panama’s Indigenous Peoples Coordinating Body  stated that the REDD Programme neither respected indigenous rights nor ensured adequate participation from indigenous communities. This withdrawal follows shortly after briefings regarding the rights of indigenous people that took place in December at the  18th UNFCCC COP. Though the conference did make a solid effort to incorporate negotiations concerning issues and opportunities for indigenous peoples, final conclusions were never reached. Future SBSTA negotiations are slated to continue throughout 2013.  



Finance & Economics

Go with the flow

Despite international efforts to allocate over US$7.3 billion to REDD+ countries, little tangible progress has been made in pushing this money to projects on the ground, according to preliminary findings from Forest Trends’ REDD+ Expenditures Tracking Initiative. First launched in November 2010, the initiative is analyzing information on financial flows targeted at REDD+ activities in Ghana, Ecuador, Brazil, and Vietnam, and is slated to expand its coverage to additional countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, and Colombia. In response to the initiative’s findings, Michael Jenkins, Founder of Forest Trends, recently released an  article on the Skoll World Forum  stressing the need to increase efficiency in the deployment of REDD+ finance and to scale up and leverage new sources of private finance.



Methods & Standards Watch

The Tasmanian devil-opment

In Tasmania, reafforestation projects valued at multiple millions of dollars have now received the green light after 18 months of government reviews. The Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency recently approved the  Reforestation and Afforestation Methodology, which will allow afforestation/reforestation projects to become registered under the methodology and earn Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) within the Australian Carbon Pricing Mechanism. Project developer CO2 Australia  has been working for 10 years to develop a valid carbon-accounting system and is proud of the “highly complex and technical piece of work” that stands as the first privately developed methodology in the forest sector.



Science & Technology Review

Tree hugging crowdsourced

Forest carbon project developer BioCarbon Partners (BCP) is piloting a  digital biomass data collection system  to quantify carbon stocks in the Miombo forest woodlands for its  Lower Zambezi REDD+ project,  which is located in Zambia. This system is one of Africa’s first such systems carried out by a community-based biomass assessment team, and expedites data collection and reportedly reduces error compared to standard biomass collection surveys that require hard-copy data collection and data capture. BCP plans to leverage this technology on future REDD+ projects, and will be documenting its experiences on its blog.


The giant sucking sound

Australia’s vegetation is putting the “use(ful)” in land use, soaking up one of every three tons of emissions generated from fossil fuel burning over the last 20 years.  Domestic climate researchers at CSIRO  report that between 1990 and 2011 Australian plants on average took up 2.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Ironically, this enormous absorption capacity is partly due to higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that increased the growth and development of Australian plants by 15 per cent compared with pre-industrial levels, the researchers say. This may not remain the case, however, and is expected to fall in the future as other factors kick in, such as nutrients and water becoming less readily available.



Publications & Tools  

To be or not to be

Landowners or Laborers: What choice will developing countries make? – New Annual Review 2012-2013 from the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)  – A new report from RRI provides an overview of important topics that have the potential to improve local rights and livelihoods and analyzes the current and future status of global forest rights. RRI’s report highlights the different choices made by forest countries over the past decade and their respective forest ownership systems.




Carbon Program Associate – Ecosystem Marketplace

Based in Washington, DC, the program associate will oversee the management and promotion of the organization’s online Forest Carbon Portal website and Project Inventory; coordinate, research and co-author the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets reports; and serve as a source of expertise on carbon markets. Candidates should have a graduate degree with strong expertise in or knowledge of the carbon markets. Read more about the position here.

International Team Leader, REDD+ Capacity Building Project – í¶sterreichische Bundesforste AG

Based in Sierra Leone, the International Team Leader will aid in the establishment of low-carbon and pro-poor development in regards to environmental sustainability in Sierra Leone. Candidates should have a University Degree in Forestry/Natural Resources Management or a related field and 10+ years of experience, including several years of team management experience. Read more about the position here.


2 Positions , Zambia – Terra Global Capital, LLC

Based in Zambia, the  Community REDD+ Implementation Specialist  will engage closely with communities in the Eastern Province in the development of forest and natural resource management plans and gain cooperation and buy-in from traditional leadership, Community Forest Boards, as well as national authorities. Candidates should have a Master’s degree in Forestry, Natural Resource Management, Ecology, Anthropology and/or related fields and 8+ years’ experience in the implementation of climate change or sustainable agriculture. Also based in Zambia, the  REDD+ Policy and Capacity Building Specialist  will undertake research, policy analysis and collaborative dialogue to inform REDD+ strategy and legal frameworks in Zambia and develop recommendations for key decision makers regarding forestry-related laws, regulations, plans and strategies for successful REDD+ in Zambia’s Eastern Province. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in Governance, Policy Dialogue, Social Sciences, Forestry, Natural Resource Management and/or related, relevant fields and 8+ years’ experience working with national and local governments on areas of capacity building, training, and policy development.


Technical Expert – The Gold Standard

Based in Turkey, the expert will contribute to the Quality Assurance process with the review of project activities submitted to the Standard for certification. S/he will also help further develop the Standard’s rules and procedures, new methodologies, and capacity building activities. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s in engineering, science, or related field, ideally with 4-5 years’ experience in the carbon markets, and fluency in Turkish. Read more about the position  here.  


Sales and Marketing Intern – Face the Future

Face the Future is looking for an intern to join its marketing and sales team for a period of 6 months with a possibility of earning an entry-level position upon successful completion. The intern would create, manage and organize marketing content, conduct carbon market research, and help out with processing sales orders and reaching out to prospective clients. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s in marketing/communications and/or environmental sciences, 1-2 years’ experience in a marketing or sales role, and be fluent in English and Dutch. Read more about the position  here.  



2 Positions –  Conservation International  

Based in Guyana, the  Intern  will assess the potential for integrating Ecosystem-based Adapation (EbA) into national and local strategies, policies and action plans, and will identify capacity building needs to support EbA development in Guyana. Candidates should have a BSc in Conservation, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Science or Policy and be early in their careers with preferably less than five years of work experience in the conservation sector.  Based in Cambodia, the  Site Manager (Central Cardamoms Protected Forest)  will manage CI’s day-to-day activities in CCPF which include implementation of agreements between CI and Forestry Administration and managing CI funded project work plans, budgets, as well as progress reporting. Candidates should have a University Degree and 5+ years’ experience in PA management, conservation, natural resource management, or equivalent.  


GIS & Remote Sensing Research Analyst – World Resources Institute (WRI)

Based in Washington, DC, the GIS & Remote Sensing Research Analyst will collect and compile spatial data and prepare for public sharing, prepare for map services for map-based websites, and research and develop attribute databases for the Global Forest Watch and Forest and Landscapes Restoration program areas within the People and Ecosystems Program. Candidates should have proficiency in GIS software, experience in spatial analysis and modeling, and have international work experience. Read more about the position  here.  


Manager, Forest and Landscape Restoration – International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Based in Washington, DC, the Manager will assume overall responsibility for the delivery of the program, ensure that each investment responds to well-defined demands, and provide technical leadership on specific thematic work streams within the overall work program. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in forestry, natural resources management, biodiversity conservation or other relevant discipline and a minimum of 10 years of experience. Read more about the position  here.  


Research Fellow – Basque Center for Climate Change

Based in Bilbao, the Research Fellow (Role of Agrobiodiversity as an Instrument for Climate Change Adaptation) will lead a state of the art review/synthesis of evidence regarding agrobiodiversity as an instrument for climate change adaptation, develop and maintain a hub of community of practice made up of experts in fields associated with agrobiodiversity, and organize and support the coordination of an expert scoping study meeting to identify key research issues. Candidates should have a PhD in a social science field such as environmental/developmental/ agricultural economics. Read more about the position  Additional resources

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