There are monetary values and benefits to managing forests to retain carbon, to protecting the habitat of endangered species, and to safeguarding the water quality of rivers and lakes. Winrock has extensive experience quantifying and valuing the economic benefits possible when companies and communities adopt sustainable resource-management practices. We also help communities realize benefits from implementing smart agriculture and energy programs.
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Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.
Asia’s forests are a critical economic and environmental resource for its people. Yet logging, farming and other human activities are accelerating deforestation at an alarming rate. This USAID-funded program developed a regional approach that promotes sustainable land use and establishes financial incentives for preserving critical forestland.
This program works to accelerate Vietnam’s transition to climate-resilient, low-emissions development by working collaboratively with policymakers, communities, and civil society. The USAID funded Vietnam Forests and Deltas program supports adoption of land use practices that slow, stop, and reverse emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through better land use and economic planning and improved funding that incentivizes sustainable practices. By helping local leaders plan for weather and climate risks, the program also increases the resilience of people, places, and livelihoods in Vietnam’s Red River and Mekong Delta regions.
To reduce and reverse the loss of valuable forestland and biodiversity, Colombia is developing a national strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, also known as REDD. This program aids that effort by providing technical assistance to accurately account for emissions reductions that result from conservation and by facilitating the participation of communities and the private sector.
Farms are businesses, which means they respond to economic signals. That basic idea is behind this program’s approach to reduce the damage to water quality caused by agricultural run-off in the West Branch Milwaukee River watershed. Winrock works with water treatment plant owners, conservation groups and others in the area to devise pay-for-performance incentives that encourage farmers to implement practices that reduce pollution.
The demand for palm oil has provided vital economic opportunities to many Indonesians. At the same time, the conversion of forests and drainage of peatland to create palm oil plantations is a leading source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Winrock has designed two scalable and replicable pilot projects that demonstrate the feasibility of improving the management of peatland areas currently devoted to palm oil production — an approach that would reduce emissions while increasing long-term sustainability.
Heavily forested Guyana is at the forefront of global Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) efforts. In particular, the South American nation has signed an agreement with the government of Norway that financially rewards Guyana for protecting its forests from development. This program enhances the agreement’s transparency and credibility by providing monitoring, reporting and verification services. Winrock has been working with Guyana since 2010 to design its approaches to account for past emissions from forests as well as emissions reductions achieved through REDD programs. These accounting approaches have enabled Guyana to receive performance payments from Norway.
REDD, or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, is one of those rare acronyms that actually spells out exactly what it means. But calculating the greenhouse gas impacts of REDD policies and developing strategies that provide livelihoods for local populations while conserving carbon-storing forests is anything but simple. Yet accurate accounting is essential to enable payments to cover the costs of these programs. Winrock provides technical assistance to help the Ghana Forestry Commission achieve these important objectives.
There is a high level of interest in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Colombia. Winrock is helping to develop a document to provide guidance to project developers and other stakeholders to ensure that their activities can be efficiently and effectively incorporated (also known as “nested”) into governmental REDD+ initiatives.
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