Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

Measuring and monitoring forest degradation for REDD

This information briefing, published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), focuses on the implications of different country circumstances for measuring and monitoring forest degradation within activities for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

The authors introduce forest degradation as a set of activities that can have different driving forces than deforestation, highlighting the fact that forests can remain degraded for a long time before becoming deforested. Degradation is typically caused by selective logging, fire and fuel wood collection.

The authors discuss monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) options for projects aiming to reduce forest degradation, emphasising the need to consider changes in both forest area and average carbon stocks per unit area. Based on a framework for forest transition with varying rates of deforestation and degradation, the relative importance for including degradation within REDD mechanisms for different countries is also outlined.

The briefing concludes that although monitoring and measuring degradation is more complicated than deforestation, developing a flexible MRV framework for including degradation in REDD mechanisms could be important for international equity. In particular, they expect that many African countries could benefit from the inclusion of degradation within REDD frameworks.