Forest Protection and Reforestation in Costa Rica: Evaluation of a Clean Development Mechanism Prototype

Subak, Susan
September 2000
Environmental Management;Sep2000, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p283
Academic Journal
ABSTRACT / Costa Rica has recently established a program that provides funds for reforestation and forest protection on private lands, partly through the sale of carbon certificates to industrialized countries. Countries purchasing these carbon offsets hope one day to receive credit against their own commitments to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Costa Rica has used the proceeds of the sale of carbon offsets to Norway to help finance this forest incentive program, called the Private Forestry Project, which pays thousands of participants to reforest or protect forest on their lands. The Private Forestry Project is accompanied by a monitoring program conducted by Costa Rican forest engineers that seeks to determine net carbon storage accomplished on these lands each year. The Private Forestry Project, which is officially registered as an Activity Implemented Jointly, is a possible model for bundled projects funded by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) established by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also serves as an interesting example for the CDM because it was designed by a developing country host—not by an industrialized country investor. Accordingly, it reflects the particular “sustainable development” objectives of the host country or at least the host planners. Early experience in implementing the Private Forestry Project is evaluated in light of the main objectives of the CDM and its precursor—Activities Implemented Jointly. It is concluded that the project appears to meet the criteria of global cost-effectiveness and financing from non-ODA sources. The sustainable development implications of the project are specific to the region and would not necessarily match the ideals of all investing and developing countries. The project may be seen to achieve additional greenhouse gas abatement when compared against some (although not all) baselines.


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