Report Confirms Role of Forests & Forest Products in Fighting Climate Change

Natural Capital
Forests support livelihoods of 1.6 billion people, with the value of ecosystem services from tropical forests estimated at an average of US $ 6,120 per hectare each year. © Kate Evans / CIFOR

Geneva / Jakarta – “Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy”, a report by the International Resource Panel (IRP) and the UN-REDD Programme, outlines that forests, forest services and products stand at the heart of climate change mitigation and an emerging green economy – also confirming importance of private sector involvement and commitment as encouraged by WBCSD Action2020 business agenda.

Supporting a wide sustainable development agenda, well managed forests provide multiple sustainable solutions – considering social and environmental dimensions and natural resources more broadly as sources of wealth, job creation and prosperity.

An investment of US $ 30 billion per year – just seven per cent of the US $ 480 billion paid in annual global fossil fuel subsidies – in the REDD+ forest conservation initiative can accelerate the global transition to green and sustainable growth and ensure the long-term wellbeing of tens of millions in developing countries, the report states.

Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy, a report by the International Resource Panel (IRP) and the UN REDD Programme, outlines how integrating REDD+ programmes into a Green Economy approach can conserve and even boost the economic and social benefits forests provide to human society.

The IRP report lays out recommendations to deliver the new integrated REDD+ and Green Economy approach, including better coordination, stronger private sector engagement, changes in fiscal incentive frameworks, greater focus on assisting policymakers to understand the role forests play in propping up economies, and equitable benefit sharing. The report stresses in particular the needs for a rights-based approach to ensure that benefits flow to the rural poor.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) is the approach to cut greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – estimated at up to 20 per cent of the global total – through payments for services. REDD+ is an expanded approach that includes the conservation and sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Forests support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people, with the value of ecosystem services from tropical forests estimated at an average of US $ 6,120 per hectare each year. Despite these economic gains, forest loss averaged 13 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This market and policy failure will undermine sustainable development by destroying the natural capital that supports so many economies.

The report argues that integration of REDD+ into all economic planning processes is essential, as deforestation and forest degradation are driven by consumption patterns in virtually every sector of the economy. Green Economy innovations resulting from REDD+ have the potential to increase the resource efficiency of many of these sectors.

REDD+ is so far backed by a total of US $ 6.27 billion. However, an estimated US $ 30 billion is projected to be needed each year from 2020. The IRP report seeks to encourage delivery of this funding by demonstrating that REDD+ approaches can support economic development and increase long-term returns on investments.

The report shows how activities supported by REDD+ can be designed to increase income by boosting output on land under cultivation, developing new green industries, encouraging forest-based eco-tourism, and increasing sustainable production of commodities for which demand is increasing. For example, a stimulus package in the sustainable management of forests could provide up to 16 million additional jobs globally. At the same time, restoring just 15 per cent of degraded forest can double household income in rural areas in developing countries, as an example from Tanzania cited in the report shows.


Click here to read/download the Full Report.


Source: WBCSD.


About the UN-REDD Programme

Launched in 2008, the UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries. It builds on the convening role and technical expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Programme supports national REDD+ readiness efforts in 49 partner countries, spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. For more information, visit

About the International Resource Panel

The International Resource Panel was established in 2007 to provide independent, coherent and authoritative scientific assessments on the sustainable use of natural resources and the environmental impacts of resource use over the full life cycle. By providing up-to-date information and the best science available, the International Resource Panel contributes to a better understanding of how to decouple human development and economic growth from environmental degradation. UNEP hosts the secretariat for the panel. For more information, visit