Tropical Countries Struggle to Monitor Deforestation

by Project Censored
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In 2010 the United Nations agreed on revisions to its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) policy.  REDD+ added the promotion of conservation, sustainable forest management, and enhancing forest carbon stocks to the existing REDD framework.  However, according to an article in the May-June 2012 issue of Environmental Science and Policy, implementation of REDD+ has been problematic.[1]

The study, which ranked the progress of tropical developing countries between 2005 and 2010, found that many countries lacked the resources to accurately monitor deforestation.  Without satellite imaging or available Internet connections, many African countries, as well as South American countries in mountainous regions, are unable to monitor and control deforestation.  Out of the 99 countries analyzed in the study, only four were effective in their monitoring capabilities as well as increasing forest cover.  The study suggests that these countries act as mentors, engaging in “South-South cooperation and regional capacity sharing,” to assist the struggling countries in efforts to meet REDD+ goals.

According to Louis Verchot, one of the study’s co-authors, investment in countries suffering gaps in monitoring capacity is not only environmentally urgent, it could yield high economic returns. “We laid out the study on a country by country basis, so this should help investors to lay out priorities and help target different types of intervention,” Verchot added.

Source: Clara Rondonuwu, “Tropical Countries Struggle to Engage with REDD+,” Science and Development Network, May 3, 2012 ,



[1] Erika Romijn, Martin Herold, Lammert Looistra, Daniel Murdiyarso and Louis Verchot, “Assessing capacities of non-Annex I countries for national forest monitoring in the context of REDD+,” Environmental Science & Policy, 19-20 (May-June 2012), 33–48,


Student Researcher: Nick Cherne (Santa Rosa Junior College)

Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Santa Rosa Junior College)