Since the sign “+” was added to REDD (Reduction Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) jargon in 2008, many debates appears among experts. Some said, the plus sign is narrowing Indonesian “chance” for selling its forest carbon. Some said the sign on the other hand is enlarge the state opportunities in REDD, for giving a chance for industrial forests in Java and not only for primary forests in Sumatera, Kalimantan and Papua, to also join the mechanism.


Bogor-Back to its history, REDD+ mechanism was born as the result of other similar mechanism under Kyoto Protocol, that believed to be a failure. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as the scheme, was push developed countries as “ unwilling donor” for clean and environmental friendly developments in developing countries. The mechanism was easy. Developed countries were facing 5,2 percent target to cut their emission on 1990, which can be done by becoming donor for clean and eco friendly developing projects in developing countries.

But as Kyoto Protocol gone weaker and weaker, CDM is facing the same faith. Therefore when some scientists under IPCC announced their controversial analyze on global warming in 2007, this lead countries, to once again, discussing what they will have to do after Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012. And of course, also what they are going to do with CDM.

CDM itself has been controversial. In 2005, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica were protesting CDM because they thought the mechanism can be used as developed countries way to sell their eco-friendly technologies to the developing countries. So, New Guinea and Costa Rica instead suggested a new system, RED (Reduction Emission from Deforestation). Of course because forests is one of the things that developings has it for sure as gift by mother nature.

The RED under CDM mechanism was starting to grow. Another “D” was add to it for Forest Degradation during COP 13 UNFCCC in Bali. In Bali Treaty, REDD even recorded as part of mitigation ad hoc working groups, which make sure the mechanism will be acknowledge in the next negotiations. Though, this REDD debate gone controversial in 2008, when China and India shoulder to shoulder, pushing the “+” sign behind REDD jargon.

The plus sign means REDD will also counts carbon enhancement, conservation and sustainable forest management in some areas as part of forests that deserve to sell their carbon in the REDD carbon market. It means REDD+ will also value carbon come from reforestations.

“The reforestation concept is giving different meanings among delegates. In one of Adhoc Working Group (of UNFCCC), China Delegates once proudly announced they have banana forests,” said Chief Technical Officer UN REDD Indonesia, Machfudz.

Machfudz’s story is referred to one of incident in UNFCCC ad hoc Working Group, as it was the technical meeting between delegates before they meet again to talk with their leaders in world’s climate change international conference of UNFCCC.

For China and India, the plus means opening new chance for them. China has started to reforest their lands, which is now no less then 50 millions hectares. While India in 2010 got US commitment for US $ 3 billions on reforestation projects. This two Asia giants has made Asian forests which has degraded for quite long, suddenly experiences reforestation again.

Reforestation become new trend, since REDD+ donor countries such as Scandinavians are quite particular that they will not accept reforestation projects which come from area that use to be primary forests, get cut and dried, then got reforest for REDD+ sake. They will only accept reforestations from the land that already dried. This term may seems good for the nature, but the plus sign on REDD does not mention that the reforestation projects should have biodiversity in it. There fore, forest countries are still allowed to reforest their desert land with monoculture forest and claimed it to REDD+ mechanism.

The condition worries Indonesian forestry experts. Including them who involve with some REDD+ pilot projects in remote areas. The Nature Conservancy is one of them.

“The plus sign in REDD can be minus for Indonesia, because our market for carbon has to be shared with India and China, whom since now already preparing their new forests,” said Dicky Simorangkir, Forestry Director of TNC.

He worries India and China role in the world of REDD+ carbon market can be a very strong competitors for Indonesia. While the climate negotiation itself still going no where and isn’t legally binding, developed countries are not yet obligated to cut their emissions. This means carbon price for REDD+ still have to depends on voluntary deal between the forest country with the donors.

This what happened between Norway and Indonesia in their pilot projects this year to 2012. Right now, Indonesian government is struggling with their scientific data to get at least US $ 10-15 per ton carbon price.

“The thing is, if they undervalue our carbon, how can we compete with palm plantation or mining profits on fields? And the bad news is, with the price too low, we also have to compete with China and India,” said Dicky.

Instead, Forestry Ministry seems to be happy with the plus sign.

“We should see the plus sign as an opportunity for Indonesia to include all our forests in Java in to REDD+ mechanism,” said Erna Rosdiana, Head of Sub Directory Social Forest of Forestry Ministry

She thinks the plus sign will allow many industrial forests in Java which has success with their specific Jati plantation of Jati Unggul Nusantara. Erna also declare that the plus sign will also open an opportunity for other social forestry programs in Indonesia to join REDD mechanism. Therefore, the thinking that REDD will only able to applied in Sumatera, Kalimantan and Papua where there are still many primary forests, can be changed.

The optimism though give Indonesia a new challenge: the government should able to provide credible and complete data on their forests. Since we all acknowledge how often the ministry data gone false. Often their stated one area is forest area though on field, there is already degradated by illegal loggings.

The credible and complete data will means a lot, especially if Indonesia wants to include their social forests to compete with China and India in REDD+ voluntary market. In this kind of market, the carbon price will depend a lot on how credible is the scientific data.

“China and India are preparing their forestry data and donor countries, of course, will lean on more to those who can serve them with the good data,” said Dicky Simorangkir of TNC.

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