Forest conservation and the clean development mechanism: Lessons from the Costa Rican protected areas project

  • Frank Vöhringer

DOI: 10.1023/B:MITI.0000029918.24860.3e

Cite this article as:
Vöhringer, F. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2004) 9: 217. doi:10.1023/B:MITI.0000029918.24860.3e


Deforestation is currentlythe source of about 20% of anthropogenicCO2 emissions. Avoided deforestationhas, nonetheless, been ruled out as a CleanDevelopment Mechanism (CDM) category in theKyoto Protocol's first commitment period,because several methodological issues wereconsidered too difficult to resolve. Thispaper explores whether CDM issues such as(1) carbon quantification, (2)additionality and baseline setting, (3)leakage risks, (4) non-permanence risks,and (5) sustainable development can beadequately dealt with in large, diversifiedforest conservation projects. To this aim,it studies the case of the Costa RicanProtected Areas Project (PAP), anActivities Implemented Jointly (AIJ)project which was meant to consolidate thenational park system to avoiddeforestation, promote the growth ofsecondary forests and regenerate pastureson an area that, in total, covers 10% ofthe national territory. The case studyexamines how the issues mentioned abovehave been addressed in the project designand in the certification process. It isfound that baseline uncertainties are themajor problem in this case. Nonetheless,the case suggests the possibility toaddress CDM issues by specific requirementsfor project design and very conservativeand temporary crediting. Provided thatother case studies support this conclusion,eligibility of well-designed forestconservation projects under the CDM in thesecond commitment period may be worthconsidering, given the secondary benefitsof avoided deforestation.

Activities Implemented Jointly baseline carbon credits Clean Development Mechanism Costa Rica forest conservation leakage non-permanence 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Vöhringer
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group, Department of Social SciencesWageningen University, Hollandseweg 1WageningenThe Netherlands (for correspondence: Tel.

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