Linkages and feedback loops among biodiversity loss, climate change and desertification. Source: Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005
Purpose: REDD is being criticized on several fronts and thus, there is a need for an integrated, comprehensive paradigm that incorporates emissions reduction, biodiversity conservation, and community development, and is leveraged towards sustainability in forests and livelihoods rather than narrower goals such as emissions reduction or conservation. Design/methodology/approach: A SWOT analysis of REDD is conducted and based on the results of the analysis, a new framework is proposed. Findings: Although REDD has enormous potential to not just reduce emissions but also provide significant co-benefits, there has also been criticism on various fronts. A new theoretical framework with carbon, conservation, and community as the three pillars has been proposed. Originality/value: The paper proposes a new paradigm that addresses GHG emission reduction, conservation of forests and biodiversity, community livelihoods support, and valuation of environmental services provided by forests. Forests, covering one-third of the earth’s surface, are home to more than half of the biodiversity on earth, provide multiple ecosystem services, and contribute to more than a billion livelihoods globally. However, forests have largely been mismanaged and remain one of the key challenges in international as well as national policy and governance. The dual role of forests in climate change, both as a source and sink of GHG emissions, adds to the urgency for action. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) is being intensely discussed for its likely role in climate change mitigation. The argument had originated with avoided deforestation, subsequently broadened to REDD and is currently being discussed around REDD+, an indication that there is more to this debate than just incentivizing emissions reduction. Although REDD has enormous potential to not just reduce emissions but also provide significant co-benefits, there has also been criticism on various fronts. The author proposes the climate, community, conservation, and sustainability (C3S) paradigm which would include objectives such as GHG emissions reduction, valuation of environmental services provided by forests, conservation of forests and biodiversity, and community livelihoods support.