The United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) is a collaborative program of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) & United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This article helps one understand Carbon stocks, causes of forest degradation, and major carbon sinks.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

The candidates can read on more similar topics from the links provided below:


  • REDD+ is a financing model negotiated under the UNFCCC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
  • It is divided into three phases, which are roughly associated with readiness, implementation, and payment for results.
  • REDD+ is a voluntary climate mitigation path developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework for Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The primary objective of REDD is to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
  • The objective of REDD+ is to conserve forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
  • REDD+ was first negotiated under in 2005, with the objective of mitigating climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest management in developing countries.
  • Most of the key REDD+ decisions were completed by 2013, with the final pieces of the rulebook finished in 2015.
  • According to the proponents, REDD+ is an effective, efficient, and equitable mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
What Causes Forest Degradation?

  • Deforestation is completely clearing or removing forests in a location may be for agricultural activities. 
  • Whereas forest degradation means forests still exist, but it is no longer able to sustain people, wildlife. 
  • It will no longer be able to filter the air we breathe, the water we drink or provide animals with food. 
  • The reasons behind forest degradation are high temperatures, climate change, forest fires, forests getting infested with pests and diseases.

Difference between REDD and REDD+

The differences between REDD and REDD+ are tabled below:

Difference between REDD and REDD+
REDD is the abbreviation for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” REDD+, with the “plus” referring to “the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries”. 
REDD is mostly focused towards avoiding carbon emissions from:

  • deforestation and
  • forest degradation
REDD+ activities include the following:

  • Reducing emissions from deforestation
  • Reducing emissions from forest degradation
  • Conservation of forest carbon stocks
  • Sustainable management of forests
  • Enhancement of forest carbon stocks

Read about other important environment conventions and protocols at the linked article.

What are Carbon Stocks?

Forest carbon stock is the amount of carbon that has been sequestered from the atmosphere and is now stored within the forest ecosystem. This carbon is stored in the above-ground biomass, below-ground biomass, soil, deadwood and litter.

What are the Major Carbon Sinks?

Carbon sinks are natural systems that suck up and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The major carbon sinks are listed below.

  1. Plants
  2. Soil
  3. Oceans

India and REDD+ Activities

  1. Reducing Deforestation – 
    • In India, there is no large scale deforestation happening except in a few states.
    • All the same, there is a scope of increasing the performance of REDD+ by further reducing deforestation.
  2. Reducing Forest Degradation –
    • India has been monitoring and reporting forest cover according to tree crown density classes.
    • Thus, in the Indian context, degradation may be defined as “Transition from higher to lower tree crown density and/or removal of lower canopy biomass or disturbance of soil, leading to a reduction in forest carbon stocks”.
    • Monitoring of tree crown density is the most cost-effective and practical alternative for monitoring degradation.
  3. Conservation of Forest Carbon Stocks –
    • The area under Protected Area (PA) management is increasing in India and has potential for REDD+ activity on ‘Conservation
      of Forest Carbon Stocks’.
    • Since in the PAs, all extraction is regulated or highly restricted, the forest vegetation, biodiversity and in turn, forest carbon stocks are potentially conserved.
    • REDD+ can be considered as a financing or resource mobilization tool to strengthen the management of PAs in future.
    • Himalayan regions where green felling is banned over the past three decades can also be considered as a candidate region for developing the REDD+ concept of ‘Conservation of forest carbon stocks’.
  4. Sustainable Management of Forests – 
    • Sustainable management of forests (SMF) is practised by implementing the Forest Working Plan approved by the Government of India.
    • The working plans are prepared following a strict National Forest Working Plan Code.
    • SMF activities can be used to incentivize maintenance of forest carbon stocks, by means of improvement in the quality of existing stocks and sustainable extraction of biomass.
  5. Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks –
    • In the Indian context, enhancement of carbon stocks could be defined as “conversion of non-forest or degraded forests to forests through afforestation, reforestation, restoration forestry and forest management practices, leading to enhancement of carbon stocks”.
    • Large potential for implementing these activities exists in India. Agroforestry and farm forestry also has the potential to be included under this category of REDD+ activities.
    • National Agroforestry Policy 2014 creates an enabling environment for this action.

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2022.

UN-REDD: UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

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