REDD+-related activities in Kenya: actors’ views on biodiversity and monitoring in a broader policy context

Abstract

Activities related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) bear potential benefits for, and also pose risks to, the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES). Next to ecological, socioeconomic and technical factors, the priorities of key actors in REDD+ implementation shape the integration of biodiversity concerns. This study aimed to identify the views of key actors in the REDD+ implementation process in Kenya with regard to biodiversity conservation and monitoring in order to evaluate the degree to which biodiversity is likely to be considered in the (sub-) national REDD+ context. In Kenya, avoided deforestation in dry forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in different forest types are major REDD+ activities. Interviews with 34 (sub-) national and project level actors showed that the solving of socioeconomic issues was paramount for REDD+ implementation in general and for achieving additional conservation benefits. In REDD+ initiatives in dry forests, conservation objectives were primarily related to wildlife; actors stressed the importance of specific management measures to minimize human-wildlife conflicts. In initiatives to enhance forest carbon stocks, the sustained provision of timber, fuel wood and hydrological ES was regarded as a conservation priority and a prerequisite for project viability. The biodiversity indicators and monitoring schemes considered to be available by the actors were mostly related to particular species. In conclusion, integration of biodiversity concerns into REDD+ depends heavily on the resolution of socioeconomic and political issues. Increased collaboration between Kenyan actors can contribute to the development of monitoring schemes for detecting REDD+ impacts on biodiversity and ES on a landscape scale.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The term REDD+-related project refers to all projects that implement actions, which contribute to the aims of the five eligible REDD+ activities (UNFCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1, para. 70). This includes afforestation/reforestation (A/R) projects, although A/R projects have emerged under the Clean Development Mechanism (Olander et al. 2012). As planting trees is a valid management action under REDD+ to enhance forest carbon stocks, A/R projects were included in this study.

  2. 2.

    In this study, socioeconomic issues are the non-material (social) and material (economic) dimensions of the relationship between people and forests (McDermott et al. 2012). Governance refers to the norms and institutional arrangements that shape the use and the management of forest resources (governance) (e.g., Thompson et al. 2011).

  3. 3.

    Actors are individuals in organizations that work with REDD+ implementation at the national or sub-national level. These actors had therefore influence on the development of REDD+ strategy at the respective scales.

  4. 4.

    Areas with a size of at least 0.05–1.00 ha and tree crown cover of more than 10–30 % with trees that can reach at least 2–5 m in situ (UNFCCC/CP/2001/13/Add.1, Annex, para.1a).

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Prof. Dr. Gerald Kapp, as well as all individuals and organizations that supported this research by providing information during data collection in Kenya. This study was carried out within the research project “The Protection of Forests under Global Biodiversity and Climate Policy,” hosted by the Chair for Landscape Management and the Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy at Freiburg University, Germany. The project received financial support from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with funds from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The paper reflects solely the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of the supporting organizations.

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Correspondence to Steffen Karl Entenmann.

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Communicated by Georg Winkel.

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Entenmann, S.K., Schmitt, C.B. & Konold, W. REDD+-related activities in Kenya: actors’ views on biodiversity and monitoring in a broader policy context. Biodivers Conserv 23, 3561–3586 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-014-0821-4

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services
  • Enhancement of forest carbon stocks
  • REDD+
  • Wildlife management
  • Dry forests