• Open Access

Protecting degraded rainforests: enhancement of forest carbon stocks under REDD+


  • Editor 
    James Blignaut

David P. Edwards, Miall 10.14, Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. Tel: +44-(0)113-3433107. E-mail: d.p.edwards@leeds.ac.uk


The likely Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism includes strategies for the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Recent concerns have been expressed that such enhancement, or restoration, of forest carbon could be counterproductive to biodiversity conservation, because forests are managed as “carbon farms” with the application of intensive silvicultural management that could homogenize diverse degraded rainforests. Restoration increases regeneration rates in degraded forest compared to naturally regenerating forest, and thus could yield significant financial returns for carbon sequestered. Here, we argue that such forest restoration projects are, in fact, likely to provide a number of benefits to biodiversity conservation including the retention of biodiversity, the prevention of forest conversion to agriculture, and employment opportunities for poor local communities. As with other forms of forest-based carbon offsets, there are possible moral hazard and leakage problems with restoration. However, due to the multiple benefits, we urge that enhancement of forest carbon stocks be detailed as a major component in the future negotiations of REDD+.