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The Framework of REDD+ through the lens of CBD Natural Ecosystem Values

Niels Hoek

elni Review 2022, pp. 10-17.

REDD+ is a legal instrument which aims to address emissions associated with deforestation and forest degradation in developing nations. Whilst REDD+ sets out to sequester carbon in a sustainable manner on paper, the framework has been subject to a wide range of critiques. This paper highlights the REDD+ regime from the perspective of biodiversity conservation, as it is often presumed that the framework comes with an automatic package of biodiversity co-benefits. Contrary to this statement, this paper finds that REDD+ breaches natural eco­system values in key areas. The latter is a direct result of the inherent focus on forest ecosystems – which excludes other biodiverse habitat types such as peat­lands or shrubs. Moreover, this paper finds a lacune within REDD+ with regard to rewilding policies. Additionally, pressing concerns are raised due to the wide State discretion and weak procedural obligations - which lead to the overstate­ment of biodiversity co-benefits of REDD+ projects. In turn, an amendment of the framework is required if monoculture plantations are to be permanently excluded under REDD+. A case study of the Juma Reserve in Brazil, and Central Kalimantan in Indonesia further highlight these complications.

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