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Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation: A Synthesis Report for REDD+ Policymakers


Based on the synthesis on drivers of deforestation and forest degradation provided in the report, a set of conclusions and recommendations are offered to underpin and support the on-going international climate negotiations, as well as country level plans and interventions to affect drivers.

Key messages

1.       Decoupling economic growth from deforestation is possible through cross-sectoral commitments and a mix of incentive investments, disincentives and enabling measures.

2.       Interventions to reduce pressures from the largest driver of deforestation — commercial agriculture — are not adequately accounted for in REDD+ readiness plans, therefore it is critical to look beyond the forest sector to design and frame interventions to affect drivers.

3.       Countries view agroforestry, afforestation and reforestation as essential strategies to address fuel wood demand, demand for construction materials, to increase carbon stocks and to restore degraded lands.

4.       While countries face international drivers and acknowledge that international pressure will increase, countries largely define strategies and interventions that address only national- and local-scale drivers.

5.       Information sharing between countries, particularly for tracking leakage effects beyond national borders, will be crucial. More understanding of options and tools countries can apply to address international drivers will be useful in the future.

6.       Adequate forest governance, enforcement capacity and tenure security are pre-conditions for effective operation of incentive schemes.

7.       A mix of incentives, disincentives and enabling measures, under a comprehensive REDD+ strategy, aimed at the most important proximate and underlying drivers is likely to provide greatest leverage. Measures pursued singly, e.g. agricultural intensification, will be much less effective or even counter-productive.

8.      The development of REDD+ strategies that focus solely on affecting proximate drivers in order to demonstrate quantifiable emissions reductions may place less emphasis on addressing the critical underlying factors that will determine whether proximate driver interventions can succeed in achieving the intended emissions reductions.


More particularly, the recommendation on direct and indirect drivers for two of the Kagera project countries are the following :

Tanzania R-PP (FCPF October 2010)

Direct drivers: Settlement and agricultural expansion, overgrazing, firewood and charcoal production, uncontrolled fires, timber extraction, development of infrastructure/ industry, refugees, large scale bio-fuel production.

Indirect drivers: Market and policy failures, rapid population growth and rural poverty, the state of economy, climate change, insecure tenure, absence of land use planning.


Uganda R-PP (FCPF June 2011)

Direct drivers: Agricultural expansion in forested land, charcoal production (domestic + Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya), firewood harvesting, livestock grazing, timber production, human settlement and urbanization.

Indirect drivers: Agrarian population increasing, socio-economic dynamics, increased demand for forestry resources with few alternatives or substitutes, weak extension system.

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