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Decision Support Tool: Identifying and Addressing Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Decision Support Tool: Identifying and Addressing Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation

28 November 2014

In the face of increasing pressures on forests, many countries have begun to explore REDD+ as a mechanism to provide finance for maintaining forest cover and reducing emissions from the forestry sector. With imminent establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, the importance of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions by means of effective policies and measures has been highlighted in Article 55 of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint (ASEAN, 2008).

Projected reductions in forest area between 2010 and 2020 equate to estimated losses of 8.72 giga tonnes of CO2 and with forest conversion the primary driver of forest loss, estimates are that between 13% and 42% of species will be lost in Southeast Asia by 2100 (FAO, 2011; Sodhi et al., 2004). Although a comprehensive assessment of drivers of deforestation and degradation is an essential part of REDD+ Readiness, it has so far been given a lower priority than topics such as measurement reporting and verification (MRV), reference levels, safeguards and financing. If significant reductions in forest-based emissions are to occur, there is an urgent need for increased focus on both an assessment of factors that drive deforestation and forest degradation, as well as tools and methods to address these drivers.

This decision support tool attempts to fill this gap by describing a process to assess and address drivers in REDD+ countries. This tool is the result of a collaborative process between the ASEAN Regional Knowledge Network on Forests and Climate Change (ARKN-FCC) and the USAID-funded Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) project to develop guidance on how to implement a process that changes the trend and direction of the factors responsible for driving deforestation and forest degradation.

The decision support tool comprises five main steps:

  • Step 1 is an information gathering phase that includes an assessment of drivers;
  • Step 2 prioritizes which drivers are most feasible to address;
  • Step 3 design interventions strategies to address the selected drivers;
  • Step 4 is an implementation phase; and
  • Step 5 is a monitoring phase in which the success of the selected measures is evaluated allowing for the overall strategy to be adjusted accordingly.
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