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Keywords:

  • Additionality;
  • forest;
  • forest carbon;
  • Indonesia;
  • moratorium;
  • peat;
  • REDD+

Abstract

In May 2010, Indonesia signed a $1-billion partnership with Norway to reduce deforestation and prepare for a global REDD+ scheme (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). A pillar of the pact is a moratorium on new agricultural and logging licenses in ∼535,294 km2 of species-rich dryland forest and ∼153,984 km2 of carbon-rich peatlands. A critical question is whether these moratorium areas constitute "additional" conservation. We test whether dryland forests and peatlands within moratorium areas differ from unprotected forest and recently cleared forest on a range of biophysical, economic, and agricultural attributes indicative of forest threat. Compared to other forests, dryland moratorium forests are significantly more marginal economically, less physically accessible, more removed from forest disruption, and more sheltered from encroachment, such that their "conservation" achieves little additional prevention of forest loss and carbon emissions. Peatland moratorium areas are, however, a conservation success insofar as they are indistinguishable from unprotected peatland and encompass the majority of remaining peatland area, much of which is vulnerable to future conversion.