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Saving forests? Take a leaf from insurance industry's book
Date:4/18/2012

A group of environmental scientists say a problem-ridden economic model designed to slow deforestation can be improved by applying key concepts from the insurance industry.

REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a UN-promoted scheme that allows countries to trade in carbon credits to keep forests intact. It is mainly targeted at developing nations where deforestation and exploitation are a major threat.

In a paper published online in the journal Conservation Letters, ecology researchers from Australia and South Africa argue that REDD projects can suffer from three major problems. They have proposed strengthening the scheme by using insurance policies and premiums, creating a new scheme known as iREDD.

"The idea of paying a nation to protect its forests in exchange for carbon pollution offsets can potentially reduce overall emissions by keeping the trees alive, and ensure a lot of associated biodiversity gets caught up in the conservation process," says Professor Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling at the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute and a senior author of the paper.

"However, there are three main problems with REDD: these are known as leakage, permanence and additionality."

Leakage - "This occurs because the original forest area that was targeted for protection under the agreement remains intact, but the deforestation that would have otherwise occurred merely gets shifted to an adjacent forest, so the net effect is the same. It results in biodiversity loss and no emissions reduction," Professor Bradshaw says.

Permanence - "This problem occurs because there is no guarantee that your investment the forest remains intact for a sufficient period
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Contact: Corey Bradshaw
corey.bradshaw@adelaide.edu.au
61-883-135-842
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert

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