The Centre for International Forestry Research, CIFOR, through a project dubbed FAROFAMA has provided Cameroon with basic data on which to negotiate REDD+ process.
REDD+, which is the ‘Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries sustainable forest management and improving forest carbon stocks’, is an initiative of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.
Richard Eba’a Atyi, CIFOR Central African Regional Coordinator, presented results of the FAROFAMA project started in 2009 to stakeholders and explained it to Science Journalists during their monthly meeting dubbed ‘Café Science’ in Yaoundé on February 13.
The main result of the project is stakeholders who wish to take decisions on initiating REDD projects in the forest sector now have access to basic data on the impact of forest exploitation on the biomass.
Eba’a Atyi and Denis Sonwa, CIFOR expert explained that forest exploiters have not been part of discussions about REDD and CIFOR thought it was because they lacked the information.
They argue that the degradation of the biomass is the direct consequence of forest exploitation which leads to degradation. The information generated through research and pilot projects established a link between forest exploitation and REDD+, by trying to demonstrate the biomass upset each time a tree is fell.
“We tried to establish the activities to be carried out if a REDD project is to start in a forest unit and one avenue to be explored is the minimum diameter of exploitation”, Sonwa said.
That is, as the diameter of exploitation increases from an estimate of 60cm to about 120cm the gain is in terms of the amount of carbon stored, he added.
Issues of policy and governance were also explored in relation to REDD, the actors involved, the competitive forest space for agriculture, palm plantation, forest exploitation in relation to REDD and the financial implication of each scenario.
Appreciating the results of the FAROFAMA, Dr. Joseph Amougou, Climate Change Focal Point at the Ministry of Environment and Protection of Nature said the information would be useful in the country’s National REDD strategy.
To him, Cameroon in developing it’s REDD project, needs to have concrete information to facilitate decision making and for government to give orientation in the activities to be done in the area of REDD.
He said forest management units with certification, do not have to integrate REDD because at the end the quantity of carbon that is harvested is too low.
But, on the other hand for a unit without certification, REDD constitutes an opportunity to ameliorate timber exploitation to make benefit from the REDD with the quantity of carbon harvested and sold in the market.
To Amougou, the challenge is to match the objective of the country to intensify agriculture with the carbon stock serving as the icing on the cake.
FAROFAMA is a project carried out in Central Africa and in the Amazon to facilitate exchange between practitioner in Brazilian Amazon and Africa for them to benefit from each others’ experiences.