Pilot gas emissions sites picked

Parks officials have selected two national parks and a wildlife sanctuary as possible locations for a greenhouse gas reduction pilot programme.

The three forests selected for the REDD+ programme are Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Yai National Park, and the forest corridor that links the western forest complex and Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said.

REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The plus sign denotes the conservation of forests, enhancement of forest carbon stocks and sustainable management of forests.

The concept was developed in 2006 as a tool for climate change mitigation by the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun as a means to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Parties agreed that deforestation has accounted for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions and the activity known as slash-and-burn continues to harm fertile forest in developing countries.

They also agreed that rich countries would provide incentives for developing countries to protect their forests to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, the department's deputy chief, said the three sites were chosen to avoid confrontations with villagers who may fear that REDD+ would limit their access to forest resources.

He admitted that stricter regulations for forest use will be implemented in the REDD+ sites.

"That is why we won't run the programme in national parks located in the North where there are many tribespeople," he said. "We don't want to see the project suspended due to unnecessary disputes. The selected sites have some possibility of success."

Mr Theerapat said the department has completed the "Readiness Preparation Proposal" that would be used as a guideline for forest management under the REDD+.

The proposal will be forwarded to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, a global group assisting developing countries that adopt the REDD+ strategy by providing financial aid.

REDD+ involves measuring carbon storage in the forest, establishing a patrol system to curb forest encroachment, and reporting forest status updates to the climate change committee.

"If the project is approved, we could receive US$3.6 million [110.2 million baht] from the World Bank and another $16 million from developed countries to run the four-year project, which will start in 2014," Mr Theerapat said.

REDD+ has been implemented in Indonesia and Vietnam under the financial support of Norway. There are currently 75 countries, including Thailand, which have expressed intentions to join the REDD+ programme.

No clear resolution was reached at the UN's Climate Change Conference's 18th COP in Doha last month on the amount of money to be set aside for REDD+ projects worldwide.

The conference, however, agreed the World Bank and participating developed countries will commit most of the funding for the project.

About the author

Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
Position: Reporter