Global climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management—The challenge of monitoring and verification

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Abstract

In this paper, sustainable forest management is discussed within the historical and theoretical framework of the sustainable development debate. The various criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management put forth by different, institutions are critically explored. Specific types of climate change mitigation policies/projects in the forest sector are identified and examined in the light of the general, criteria for sustainable forest management. Areas of compatibility and contradiction between the climate mitigation objectives and the minimum criteria for sustainable forest management are identified and discussed. Emphasis is put on the problems of monitoring and verifying carbon benefits associated with such projects given their impacts on pre-existing policy objectives on sustainable forest, management. The implications of such policy interactions on assignment of carbon credits from forest projects under Joint Implementation/Activities Implemented Jointly initiatives are discussed. The paper concludes that a comprehensive monitoring and verification regime must include an impact assessment on the criteria covered under other agreements such as the Biodiversity and/or Desertification Conventions. The actual carbon credit assigned to a specific project should at least take into account the negative impacts on the criteria for sustainable forest management. The value of the impacts and/or the procedure to evaluate them need to be established by interested parties such as the Councils of the respective Conventions.