REDD in the Southern Highlands
As part of a Tanzania-wide investment in Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiatives, the Royal Norwegian Government is supporting WCS to conduct a REDD Readiness project in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
The purpose of the project is to design and carry out a robust baseline study to provide methods for estimating deforestation, carbon sequestration, emissions and leakage in southwest Tanzania’s four most important forests covering 52,680 hectares. Using a range of remotely-sensed and ground-truthed techniques, as well as participatory monitoring methods, this pilot will provide substantial carbon data and demonstrate to relevant national authorities by the end of 2013 appropriate tools for implementing REDD strategies and monitoring forest degradation.
According to the FAO's Global Ecological Zones (FAO, 2001), the forests being assessed under this baseline assessment fall within the following zones: Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest (Mbizi), and Tropical Mountain (Kitulo – Rungwe – Poroto). The latter of these zones is sparsely distributed in Tanzania. Detailed local assessments of these forests will therefore provide unique and complementary information for calculating national level statistics for Tanzania, in line with IPCC 2006 good practice guidance, which recommends stratification of greenhouse gas estimates using ecological zones within a country to facilitate determination of more accurate estimates.
The project will also implement economic incentives reaching at least 50,000 people that provide benefit sharing to local communities, environmental education and alternative forest resource provision, which together will help to address the main drivers of local forest degradation. Collectively the project will provide an estimate of the levels of emission reductions that could be expected should the target forests be included in a national level REDD initiative.