Quantifying the Implications Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement (PADDD) for REDD+ Policies

by Maithili Joshi

REDD+ policies address deforestation and degradation of protected forests. It is believed their implementation causes perverse effects leading to illegal activities, downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD). This phenomenon challenges the idea of permanence of protected areas. The study was conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malaysia, and Peru because of its extraordinary biodiversity. Forrest et al. (2014) aimed to quantify the implications of PADDD for REDD+ polices. First, a database that consisted of information on PADDD events since 1990 until 2011 was created. This included protected area name, location and area affected, type, and year. Protected area legislation in these three countries and administrative journals in DRC were reviewed, and also digitized historic maps of PADDD events from government sources. Second the amounts and rates of deforestation and carbon loss within PADDDed lands in peninsular Malaysia and Peru were assessed and compared to unprotected forests. The events only included downsizings and degazettement. Analyses were based on four events: areas affected by PADDD, the current protected areas in Peru and peninsular Malaysia, above-ground biomass for the year 2007, and forest cover change in Peru to determine total forest cover lost, total forest carbon lost, and annual percent of original forest cover and forest carbon lost by land tenure class. The impact of protection and PADDD (in Peninsular Malaysia and Peru) on above-ground carbon stocks was estimated for the year 2010. This was compared to areas that have never experienced protection. For this experiment, three scenarios were examined: 2000 – 2010 observed rates of forest carbon loss proceed to 2100, 200-2010 rates of deforestation, and all standing forests converted to non-forests by 2100. The economic net present value of forest carbon under three emissions and 3 carbon price scenarios was examined for Peninsular Malaysia and Peru and projected carbon value annually from 2010 to 2100. Additionally, the value of carbon lost between the years 2000 and 2010 was calculated. Finally, regression analysis of deforestation was used to test the hypothesis that PADDD is a significant predictor of deforestation in Peninsular Malaysia and Peru while accounting for biophysical characteristics and accessibility. The results showed that in DRC, there were 39 PADDD events; Malaysia experienced at least 121 PADDD events since 1900, as well as 110 in Peninsular Malaysia. The regression models suggested that PADDD is a significant predictor of forest loss. In Peru, there were 14 PADDD events that occurred in Peruvian protected areas. Thirteen occurred in 1996, resulting in 17% of the historic protected area system being permanently destroyed. Regression analysis also suggested that PADDD is a significant predictor of canopy cover change. The results show that PADDD has substantial implications for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. It can result in dramatically higher carbon emissions and deforestation rates.

To address these issues, the authors suggest robust social and environmental safeguards, comprehensive carbon accounting, rigorous monitoring, reporting, and verification systems and mechanisms for periodic policy reforms are crucial for climate policies to reach their desired goals, while minimizing consequences and outcomes.

Forrest, J. L., Mascia, M. B., Pailler, S., Abidin, S. Z., Araujo, M. D., Krithivasan, R. and Riveros, J. C. 2014, Tropical Deforestation and Carbon Emissions from Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement (PADDD). Conservation Letters. doi: 10.1111/conl.12144



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