One of the potential financing options that exists for conservation of natural forest is through REDD. The idea is that western nations offset their carbon emissions by paying to protect natural forest which is a source of about 20% of all carbon emissions. These funds could provide incentives for people who have natural forest on their land, or to national governments to protect forest rather than convert it to agriculture. WCS has been leading a feasibility analysis for REDD+ funding in the Murchison-Semliki Landscape, the Mt Hoyo-Virunga Park corridor of the Greater Virunga Landscape, the Itombwe Massif of the Maiko-Itombwe Landscape and the proposed Ngamikka Park of the Marungu-Kabogo Landscape.
The project in the Murchison-Semliki Landscape is the most advanced to date and a Project Design Document has been drafted since the feasibility analysis was completed. We are working with the local farmers and our partners in this landscape to agree on the best mechanisms for disbursement of any REDD+ funds to farmers that would minimize costs of implementation but at the same time ensure that carbon stocks are monitored and are conserved. It is estimated that about 31 million tones of CO2 could be sequestered if deforestation could be halted yielding about $153 million USD over the lifetime of the project. Funding that could be generated from selling carbon credits would raise about 70% of the costs to offset what farmers could make by converting these forests to agriculture in the short term but are likely to provide options over a longer period as the fertility of the soil declines within 4-5 years once the forest is cleared. We are contacting the private sector to look at options of improving agricultural yield outside the forests and to encourage shade tree production of coffee and cocoa that could widen the corridor and potentially add a premium to the price of the crop.
Virunga-Mt Hoyo Project
WCS has made a preliminary assessment of the potential for the forest corridor between Virunga Park and the Mt Hoyo Reserve to the north to generate financing for local people in this region. Given the rates of deforestation over the past ten years in the region we estimate that 6 million tones of CO2 could be sequestered providing $30.3 million USD over the next twenty years to farmers living around this corridor. We will be working on developing this project with Congo Basin Forest Funds in the near future.
WCS has made a preliminary assessment of the carbon sequestration potential of the proposed boundaries of the Itombwe Reserve once it is finally gazette. Given the current rates of deforestation in the vicinity of the proposed reserve we estimate that over 20 years this site could sequester 12.3 million tones of CO2 yielding about $46.9 million USD for farmers living in and around this reserve. We are looking for funding to undertake a more detailed assessment ofthis site and develop a Project Design Document.
Proposed Ngamikka National Park
The proposed Ngamikka National Park in the Marungu-Kabogo Landscape would conserve an area of about 2,180 km2 of forest, woodland and grassland. Given the current rates of deforestation around the proposed park we estimate that in a project period of twenty years that 2,655 tonnes of CO2 generating about $10.2 million USD for farmers living around the park. We are looking for funding to be able to develop this project into a Project Design Document which would help us access REDD+ funding for the local communities once the park is established.