Land-use planning and REDD+

Land-use planning and REDD+

Introduction and background.
The land sector is unique in climate mitigation as it is the only sector where both emissions and removals of carbon occur (including depletion of carbon sinks). Extensive and unsustainable land use patterns will have to be replaced by more sustainable, but intensive uses, if land-based emissions are to be reduced. Consequently, land and natural resource planning is a key starting point for REDD+ interventions worldwide. The plans may introduce considerable changes to land and forest use to reduce emissions, while also impacting local livelihoods. Participatory land use planning improves local participation as well as effective use of land.
In many cases, government or project supported natural resource management programmes undertake village land use plans as pure formalities, without any follow up on implementation. A land-use plan under a ‘business-as-usual ‘ scenario usually maximises the agriculture area, while only a small fraction of village land is reserved for forestry – often in a remote and poorly accessed area. This type of planning undermines the possibilities of managing the land for sustainable forest management (SFM) to support rural incomes; it also increases deforestation in some of the most densely forested areas in Tanzania. The Norwegian-funded REDD+ pilot projects showed that combining land-use planning, participatory forest management and enforcement of local by-laws can contribute to SFM and thereby reduce emissions, especially when tied to performance-based payments.

Key policy messages.
• Land-use planning is an important tool for tackling the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, such as shifting agriculture and insecurity of land tenure.
• Participatory land use planning at landscape and village level is crucial to the implementation of REDD+.  It ensures broad local participation in land use management decisions and gives the opportunity to address the challenges of sustainable production under different conditions.
• Land-use planning for REDD+ should be assisted at a landscape level with strong financial and political support from national and local government authorities. Introducing improved management across land under community management can avoid leakage as well as    develop    economies    of scale for land management and the marketing of carbon credits.
• Through Village Land Use Planning (VLUP) communities have an incentive to demarcate  and manage large forest areas due to the potential monetary and non-monetary benefits from REDD+.
• Linking VLUP to REDD+ performance based payments creates strong local incentives for the implementation of the plans.

Tanzanian REDD+ Pilot Projects: Policy Brief 4.

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