What policies can be implemented to slow deforestation? Your first answer might be "make it illegal", via command-and-control (standards). The problem with this approach is that it does not recognize that people lives depend on earning money from the forests. What if poor nations could profit from NOT cutting trees rather than profiting from cutting trees?
REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. Think of it as a global PES system.
The system works as follows:
The carbon stored in standing trees in a country is estimated.
Carbon losses from continued "business as usual" (BAU) deforestation and forest degradation are also estimated.
The country then undergoes conservation activities to reduce deforestation below the projected BAU level.
carbon "saved" via conservation activities is credited to the country
and made available for sale in international carbon markets. (Developed) countries (or states) that face carbon reduction
requirements can reduce their own emissions and/or purchase credits on
the international market.
provides a monetary incentive to preserve standing forests as long as the profit that can be earned by selling carbon credits exceeds
the profit that can be earned from various forms of development that require deforestation.
good. The skewed intertemporal and
international distribution of costs and benefits are a big reason for
tropical deforestation. The benefits of deforestation are realized by current generations, but the costs of deforestation are "paid" by future generations (in large part by developing nations). You're thinking about Hardin's Tragedy here I hope.
If developed countries buy carbon credits from
nations, forests are preserved for future generations. Obviously there
are a lot of complications and concerns. This will be true for any
Read more about the basics of REDD and REDD+ here at the UN.
Some cool videos here.
Are there problems and unintended consequences? Yes, of course.
Read more here and here.
Can these problems be overcome?
P.S. I have a former student who is working on this REDD project.