Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) has been identified as one serious approach in mitigating global climate change by reducing the levels of greenhouse gas emissions that enter our atmosphere. Today, fifteen to twenty percent of global GHG emissions are attributed to deforestation and forest degradation due to activities such as increased logging and agriculture. Many of these countries reside in the Global South, where poverty is widespread and resource exploitation is a means of livelihood security. However, if such countries can lessen their rates of forest degradation and deforestation and develop strategies to conserve forestlands, then they deserve to be financially compensated for these efforts.
theoretically, REDD have been implemented by the multinational companies like GRL which reported that is the Africa’s leading forestation company in 2008/2009 which is growing trees to generate carbon credit, bio-energy and to manufacture wood products. The record showed that 4,200 ha of new trees was planted in 2008 and indicates that the company hold more than 200,000 ha of land for future planting.
As it was counted, Tanzania has large area of forest reserve particularly in Mufindi district. Forest reserves covers a total area of 64,106 ha among which 47,416 ha are forest reserves and 16,690 ha are catchment’s forest, the total forest cover a portion of the Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania that are scenic and renowned intentionally for the diversity and endemic species. The district also covers about 80,000 ha of Miyombo woodlands and 35,610 ha of grassland. (Mufindi district report)
The challenge are how do you implement REDD strategies fairly? who is actually gain from REDD? how are benefits to be shared? how do you ensure equitable compensation for forest conservation? how do you accurately measure, report and verify (MRV) carbon stocks and avoided emissions? where do the funds come from?
In theory, the concept of REDD is a climate change ‘no-brainer.' It aims to reduce potential GHG emissions, protect stored carbon, and increase future restoration opportunities. Despite the promise of this mechanism for reducing greenhouse gases but practically in a country like Tanzania with vast and valuable species of animals and plants might lead to get in problems socially, economically and environmentally as well elaborated as follows below.
* Eviction of native’s communities from their land they had always used to live and sustain their lives through practicing socio-economic activities.
* Blocking of the indigenous communities from accessing to non timber products for instance fruits and medicines.
* Food security will be a difficult question to be answered to the societies especially who depends on fertile land and grasslands which is very good for grazing cattle which is converted to tree plantation.
* Loss of land title deeds to indigenous due to land being sold to the tree plantation investors to custody it for many years likely 99 years. Theoretically if the project fails indigenous will continue to be landless for that time being.
* Food importation will be continued in Tanzania though having vast land as many people and investors will be attracted to plant more trees rather food crops production in which in long run there would be no balance of payment.
* Capital flight mainly due to the realities on investing in tree plantation which largely being dominated by foreigners who have capital enough to invest on our land than indigenous, will be benefited and paid by Redd progamme.
* Poverty will continue to prevail in Tanzania communities as far as food security would be exhibited in communities as one of the major indicator of the poverty.
* Different species of animals, birds and plants will extinct in the areas where tree plantation is going to be implemented for instance, to date some species in Mufindi district started to disappear e.g. edible plants like “Mikusu” and “Misaula” and animal species like “Mbawala” and “Digidigi” due to trees plantation done by Green resources according to Mgororo villagers which project the bad future when Redd is officially implemented as it also involve trees plantation.
* Loss of grassland areas which is very important due to its content in our ecosystem e.g. variety of beauty fauna’s, and fodder grasses since, they are areas with 1st rank for trees plantation as they are regarded as marginal lands in Tanzania
* Land degradation due to its nature of the trees plantation in monoculture to which in future will also lead to loss of fertility hence, low productivity.
Since “plantations are not forests” and due to its idea of reducing emission through deforestation and forest degradation by planting more trees. The Redd programme in long run might have problems especially to the ecosystem as natural forest saves as a habitat to insects, birds, animals and roots. Hence I recommend the following,
* Redd implementation should include fully recognition of the land use planning and the 1st prioritized people to invest for that programme should be natives and not foreigners. This will ensure Redd programme to be a non-business activity.
* Government should consider and value grassland as part and parcel of ecosystem which should be conserved. In doing so the government should have district grassland officers rather than keeping this burden to forest officers.
* Scientist works e.g. researches should be respected supported and their findings should be considered and implemented by the government instead of handling politics e.g. accepting Redd implementation without knowing its impacts.
* Cso’s should have coalition to advocate the coming and implementation of Redd progamme e.g. arguing why do they launch the program in our country and not to their home country since they are the one’s who pollute more.
To conclude, something should be noted and understood I don’t reject the implementation of Redd programme BUT i just want to see its implementation doesn’t affect the people’s economy; livelihood; and environment for instance trees plantation be directed to areas where deforestation is severely and its land is real not suitable for the agricultural uses e.g. grazing and crops production.
Written by: Yohana kadiva