Environmental degradation and the resulting loss of ecosystem services, increased vulnerability to climate change, and rural poverty often reinforce one another. Ecosystem conservation can help to stop this vicious cycle, as well as contribute to the mitigation of climate change through the avoidance of emissions, particularly in the case of forests. This is the core principle behind the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) proposed scheme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), which aims to financially reward countries for lowering forest-related emissions. Since the bulk of REDD+ payments would be performance-based, governments must take action to reduce emissions directly or by offering reduction incentives – ideally to those who directly manage forests. The Government of Ecuador’s Socio Bosque programme is a successful example of a voluntary incentive-based scheme with combined environmental and socioeconomic targets, which engages the poorest private and communal forest landholders and, through conservation agreements, offers them annual per-hectare payments in return for maintaining forest cover.
Fehse, J. Private conservation agreements support climate action: Ecuador&#8217;s Socio Bosque programme. Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), (2012) 6 pp. [Inside Stories on climate compatible development]