Humbo forestry carbon project mitigates climate change
May 15, 2014
Reforestation of degraded lands can bring several tangible benefits, spanning from local communities empowerment to landscape restoration. But increasing the vegetation cover has an additional benefit, global in scale and invisible to the naked eye: climate change mitigation. Forestry projects contribute to the sequestration of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide, through the regeneration of natural resources. World Vision’s reforestation project in Humbo, Ethiopia, is Africa’s first large-scale carbon trading forestry project developed under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM allows earning carbon credits for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent “sequestered” or absorbed by the forest. The World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund has committed to purchasing the carbon credits generated by the Humbo project, providing the local community with an additional source of income.
USAID has recently published a study about forestry carbon projects in East Africa, to better understand their challenges and successes in terms of climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and community development. The report highlights some positive elements of World Vision’s project in Humbo:
- Potential for natural regeneration of indigenous vegetation in eastern Africa, which has significant cost and biodiversity benefits compared with tree planting;
- Well-organized farmers can play a leading role in forest rehabilitation and management on state land without intrusive supervision and regulation (something that many governments are skeptical of); and
- Agreement to prioritize use of carbon revenues for community well-being rather than individual payments (and spreading some direct benefits to non-members, too).
World Bank and other donors see the potential for applying this experience to larger areas, with carbon income as an additional benefit.