Jurisdictional REDD+/Sustainable Landscapes

Terra provides deep technical expertise to national or regional-level (“Jurisdictional”) REDD+ programs across the global. Terra has extensive experience in designing REDD+ programs – including assessment of drivers of deforestation and degradation, program design, GHG quantification, benefit sharing, and financial and operational planning. – for the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the World Bank Carbon Fund’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Terra’s jurisdictional scale advisory work is structured to holistically address a region’s REDD+ needs, taking a program from initial analysis of drivers of deforestation through quantification and financing. As more counties move from project-level REDD+ to national- and regional-level REDD+, expertise in linking site-based or project activities to the jurisdiction context is essential. 

Drivers, Agents, and Project Actions

Jurisdictional scale REDD+ programs must be designed in order to successfully capture the drivers and agents of deforestation across an entire region and design effective project actions that will actually reduce deforestation. Using formal social surveys, literature review, and extensive interviews with local experts, Terra is able to identify current and future drivers of deforestation and degradation and design the activities that will have a measureable impact on the ground. Beyond identifying the direct and indirect drivers of deforestation and degradation in a jurisdiction, Terra deeply delves into national and regional policies, governance, economic, and cultural underlying causes that influence conditions on the ground. Terra has extensive experience designing workplans and budgets for implementation, allowing Jurisdictional Programs to overcome institutional barriers to bring programs to fruition.

Emission Reduction Levels (REL) and Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV)

Jurisdictional scale Reference Emission Levels (REL) and Measuring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) systems must find a balance between results-based activity accounting and national reporting requirements while being scientifically sound and attainable from an implementation perspective. MRV must be robust, ecologically and culturally appropriate across an often diverse environmental and political landscape. Land-use change history, necessary for setting the REL, is determined using remote sensing imagery. Terra Global uses open source software (OSS) and cloud computing methods allowing for rapid processing of the large imagery datasets, terabytes in size, required to provide land use change assessments at the jurisdictional scale. Furthermore, this OSS cloud based platform allows for a collaborative framework designed to capture local knowledge using a web mapping interface allowing for national scale activity monitoring. REL and MRV designs are built around nested protocols enabling the integration of early adopter project scale emission reduction activities within the larger jurisdictional framework.

In addition to land-use change history, RELs may include upward or downward adjustments to capture national circumstances and improve accuracy. Adjustments to REL can be calculated based on new policies, extrapolated from uncaptured trends in the historical reference level, or modeled from predictions of changes in the absence of REDD+ interventions. Adjustments to the historical reference level to appropriately capture the REL is more common in historically high forest cover, low deforestation (HFLD) counties, where current and future national and international trends add additional pressure on forests.  In the Republic of Congo, Terra implemented the first Carbon Fund ER-PD with an adjustment to the REL. This represented a significant opportunity for the country to truly account for future deforestation based on changing national circumstances.

Stakeholder Engagement and Benefit Sharing

Integrating a jurisdiction’s numerous stakeholders into a unified REDD+ process is essential for project success. Terra uses a formalized process of stakeholder interviews and social surveys to engage local communities and organizations, build support for the national or regional REDD+ program, and develop a plan for project actions. Identifying stakeholders, designing an engagement plan and incorporating feedback is a patience and priority that Terra believes is at the heart of a successful program.  Most organizations engaged in designing benefit sharing, are unable to integrate the four interrelated components of any sound plan 1) ability to measure the success from which benefits will be gained, 2) financial implications of different benefit plan options, 3) institutional requirements for funds management and benefit tracking, and 4) engagement and training of plan beneficiaries.  Terra is able to work with our local partners to succeed in implementing a benefits sharing plan that delivers on all of these. 

Strategic Environmental and Social Assessments (SESA) are a key component and necessary first step for any jurisdictional program. Terra designs formalized benefit sharing programs for Jurisdictional REDD+ projects based on the division of labor in the work plan, making an equitable and fair distribution of incentives. Terra has a track record of designing benefit sharing and institutional arrangements for Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Malawi, Cambodia, and has also designed a formalized stakeholder engagement and benefit sharing program for the Republic of Congo’s ER-PD.