Ag has been identified as a main driver for deforestation, whether for livestock, food or biofuels. But it is not clear how this can be addressed by REDD+.
At forest day many questions were asked about this relationship. Questions included, how can safeguards be put into place to protect the poor and enhance access to food as forest production increased? (This year’s focus is Forest for the People) And what regulatory framework is needed? There are many actors who are committed to reduction of deforestation. Delegates are already struggling to balance the needs of meeting emission targets, protecting biodiversity, protecting the rights of indigenous people. Now the issues of nutrition and dealing with ag drivers are being thrown into the mix without really clear direction on how this would happen. It is such an important and complicated issue. A forest day survey indicated that attendees do not agree on whether forest intensification would reduce or increase deforestation rates.
While ag is a hot topics at the conference, thoughts about ag are coming from foresters, researchers and natural resource managers, not from farmers or the ag industry. I have attended several interesting side events related to agriculture and climate change including (1)Enabling agriculture and forestry to contribute to climate change response, (2) Governing and implementing REDD+, (3) Is climate-smart agriculture possible. There are clear examples of best practices, but from the audience, it doesn’t seem like ag producers are participating meaningfully in these important REDD conversations.