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Beyond forestry: why agriculture is key to the success of REDD+
When it comes to deforestation, the task of reconciling climate and development goals poses a daunting challenge. Forest clearing is both the source of significant greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change and, for some farmers, the most practical means for expanding agricultural production to meet rising food demands. ‘REDD’ or ‘REDD+’ mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, by providing developing countries with incentives to conserve their forests, are rapidly gaining credence as effective tools for mitigating climate change.
But if they are to work, they must pay more attention to the role of agriculture in deforestation and the implications for food security of reducing deforestation. Improving agricultural productivity will be key. But productivity gains must not undermine REDD+ efforts. This means nurturing low-emission alternatives to forest clearing. It means supporting poor farmers to adapt to climate change. Above all, it means climate, forest and agriculture policy communities must work together.