Eastern Africa - Forest Carbon Projects Study
This report analyzes four forest conservation projects in East Africa. Its aim is to help USAID understand the challenges and successes of projects that combine climate change, biodiversity conservation and community development objectives. This analysis will be applied to future USAID program development, including those related to REDD+.
The projects, underway at the time of the 2014 report, are:
- Trees for Global Benefits project in Uganda
- Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project in Ethiopia
- The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program in Kenya
- East Aberdare/Mount Kenya Forest Rehabilitation Project in Kenya
A challenge the projects faced was that conservative carbon sequestration estimates favor buyers over farmer-producers, but farmers are expected to receive fairer payments over time. Validation can take a long time, staff need technical expertise, and several projects had little impact on biodiversity or lacked enough community monitoring.
The report also lays out financial challenges, including high investment costs, often upward of $1 million. It ranks carbon standards in terms of how rigorous they are. It notes that operating costs among these projects was low, but that revenues are not high enough to provide a primary incentive for tree planting, for example.
The report also describes linkages between biodiversity conservation and tree planting; the extent of community engagement by these projects; how they could be scaled up; and their relevance for national REDD+ efforts.