Project Achievements & Way Forward
The key successes at the end of our five-year pilot REDD project were:
- 25,681 hectares of forest brought under community management, and thus protected from degradation by illegal logging and charcoal production.
- A more realistic approach to participatory land-use planning in Kilwa District.
- Participatory Forest Management (PFM) fully operational with revenue earned from timber sales in 5 villages with 8,118 people. PFM expansion complete in 4 further villages with 9,711 people and revenue generation set to begin in 2015. In villages with PFM completed 85% of households stated they had benefited as a result of the project.
- Introduced wide-scale early burning by drip torches to Tanzania, an idea that may now be taken up in the National Fire Strategy.
- Supported communities to burn over 6,000 hectares of their forests, reducing forest carbon emissions by an estimated 27,600tC. At a rough market price of $5 per tCO2e, the 27,600tCO2e sequestered are worth almost $140,000, or approximately $22 per person per year in the two villages where the early burning was most successfully conducted. This is approximately $100 per household per year, a not insignificant sum in an area where most households earn less than $1 per day.
- Measured forest carbon stocks across Kilwa District (report).
- Assessed fire frequency in different strata of forest within Kilwa District, establishing an approach that can be used to derive the forest fire history in other parts of southern Africa.
- Designed a method by which communities can monitor for themselves fire frequency and above-ground biomass in forests they manage.
- Adapted the GapFire model to serve the purposes of a REDD project.
- Compiled a brand new Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) methodology for REDD by fire management in dryland forests, the first such methodology of its kind, and one of the first to use a computer model as the basis for calculating Verified Carbon Units.
- Laid a baseline for monitoring the impacts of early burning on avian biodiversity in the forests of central and southern Kilwa.
- Improved village governance in project villages, with the frequency of village general assembly meetings increasing from an average of 1.9 to between 3 and 4 per year.
- Devised an innovative approach to monitoring the quality of village and forest governance in rural communities.
- Established a baseline against which to measure the socio-economic impact at household level of anticipated revenue flows from REDD and other PFM mechanisms.
- Assessed the market for carbon offsets from the project, and how to market them in future to get the best possible prices.
- Contributed significantly to the evolution of REDD debates and policy formulation within Tanzania.
MCDI initially envisaged selling the first carbon offsets generated by our REDD project within 3-4 years. However, REDD turned out to be even more challenging than first thought. To succeed in selling carbon offsets, MCDI probably needs another 2-3 years of funding to cover the following key steps:
- Embed early burning more strongly within the framework of local PFM implementation we have successfully developed.
- Develop a simplified calculation that will allow villagers to compute approximate biomass directly from DBH measurements obtained in the field.
- Expand carbon density map to neighbouring Palsar scenes in order to include southern and western portions of Nanjirinji A’s VLFR, the biggest VLFR supported by MCDI (61,500ha).
- Write a detailed Project Design Document.
- Obtain validation to both VCS and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard.
- Enter into three way contracts with communities and Carbon Tanzania for the sale of offsets.
- Market offsets to customers prepared to pay a premium price for the strong biodiversity and community development co-benefits associated with the project.
Additional investment would allow MCDI to roll out the project further to achieve the ideal economies of scale for success.