Harnessing REDD+ opportunities for forest conservation and carbon stock enhancement in the Northeastern States of India


Forests have significant economic and ecological value as a provider of ecosystem services, being home to much of the world’s biodiversity and supporting the livelihoods of many people. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) is a critical component of the overall greenhouse gas emission reductions and now the significance of REDD+ (which is not only about reducing emissions but halting and reversing forest loss), in delivering climate change mitigation benefits along with co-benefits, is increasingly being recognized in global climate negotiations. Northeast India provides a tremendous potential for harnessing REDD+ activities with about 66% of the total geographical area of the region being covered by forests. This paper attempts to explore this potential besides estimating the area available for different options under REDD+ as well as the mitigation potential using COMAP model, overcoming limitations of existing studies or a lack of them. Within this, the status of forests and biodiversity along with drivers of deforestation in north east India are documented and an assessment of the potential for taking up reducing deforestation and degradation and enhancement of carbon stocks and afforestation is conducted both at the state as well as district level. It was found that northeastern states have been experiencing net forest loss during the last few years along with significant scale forest degradation, with Nagaland followed by Arunachal Pradesh offering maximum potential for “reducing deforestation” option under REDD and the total incremental annual mitigation potential of the four REDD+ activities in northeast India being 29.2 MtCO2 for 2030.

Share and Cite:

Murthy, I. , Sharma, N. and Nijavalli H, R. (2013) Harnessing REDD+ opportunities for forest conservation and carbon stock enhancement in the Northeastern States of India. Natural Science, 5, 349-358. doi: 10.4236/ns.2013.53048.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Laurance, W. F. (2008) Can carbon trading save vanishing forests? BioScience, 58, 286-287. doi:10.1641/B580402
[2] Metz, B., Davidson, O.R., Bosch, P.R., Dave, R. and Meyer, L.A. (2007) Climate change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of working group III to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.
[3] http://www.indiastat.com
[4] FSI (2009) The state of forest report, forest survey of India. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi.
[5] Barik, S.K., Darlong, V.T., Palit, S., Poffenberger, M., Roy, I., Tiwari, B.K. and Upadhyay, S. (2005) Community forestry in Northeast India: Recommendations for action. Community Forestry International, Santa Barbara.
[6] Roy, P.S. and Joshi, P.K. (2002) Forest cover and assessment in North East India: Issues and policies. Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (NRSA), Dehradun. http://www.gisdevelopment.net/magazine/gisdev/2002/
[7] Banerjea, P. (2005) Northeast of India—Cradle of Naturenomics TM.
[8] Jeeva, S.R.D.N., Laloo, R.R. and Mishra, B.P. (2006) Traditional agricultural practices in Meghalaya, North East India. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 5, 7-18.
[9] Angelsen, A., Brown, S., Loisel, C., Peskett, L., Streck, L. and Zarin, D. (2009) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD): An options assessment report. www.REDD-OAR.org
[10] GoI (1999) Economic survey, 1998-99. Economic Division, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi.
[11] Manhas, R.K., Negi, J.D.S., Kumar, R. and Chauhan, P.S. (2006) Temporal Assessment of Growing Stock, Biomass and Carbon Stock of Indian Forests. Climatic Change, 74, 191-221
[12] Penman, J., Gytarsky, M., Krug, T., Kruger, D., Pipatti, R., Buendia, L., Miwa, K., Ngara, T., Tanabe, K. and Wagner, F., Eds. (2003) De?nitions and methodological options to inventory emissions from direct human-induced degradation of forests and devegetation of other vegetation types. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Kanagawa.
[13] Murdiyarso, D., Skutsch, M., Guariguata, M., Kanninen, M., Luttrell, C., Verweij, P. and Stella, O. (2008) Measuring and monitoring forest degradation for REDD: Implications of country circumstances. CIFOR Infobriefs, 16.
[14] Bajracharya, S. (2008) Community carbon forestry: Remote sensing of forest carbon and forest degradation in Nepal. Master Thesis of Science in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modeling and Management, International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, Enschede.
[15] Rikimaru, A., Roy, P.S. and Miyatake, S. (2002) Tropical forest cover density mapping. Tropical Ecology, 43, 39- 47.
[16] Miles, L. (2010) Implications of the REDD negotiations for forest restoration: Version 2. UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge.
[17] Ravindranath, N.H and Ostwald, M. (2008) Carbon inventory methods—Handbook for greenhouse gas inventory, carbon mitigation and roundwood production projects. In: Global Change Research, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 304.
[18] Sathaye, J., Makundi, W.R., Andrasko, K., Boer, R., Ravindranath, N.H., Sudha, P., Rao, S., Lasco, R., Pulhin, F., Masera, O., Ceron, A., Ordonez, J., Deying, X., Zhang, X. and Zuomin, S. (2001) Carbon Mitigation Potential and Costs of Forestry Options in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, The Philippines, and Tanzania. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Climate Change, 6, 185-211.
[19] Ravindranath, N.H., Sudha, P. and Rao, S. (2001) Forestry for sustainable biomass production and carbon sequestration in India. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 6, 233-256. doi:10.1023/A:1013331220083
[20] Ravindranath, N.H., Chaturvedi, R.K. and Murthy, I.K. (2008) Forest conservation, afforestation and reforestation in India: Implications for forest carbon stocks. Current Science, 95, 216-222.
[21] Sathaye, J. and Ravindranath, N.H. (1998) Climate change mitigation in the energy and forest sectors of developing countries. Annual Review of Energy and Environment, 23, 387-437. doi:10.1146/annurev.energy.23.1.387
[22] Ravindranath, N.H. and Sathaye, J. (2002) Climate change and developing countries. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht.
[23] Murthy, I.K., Hegde, G.T., Sudha, P. and Ravindranath, N.H. (2006) Methodological issues in developing a community forestry mitigation project in Mancherial forest division of Andhra Pradesh, India. Environmental Science and Policy, 9, 525-537. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2006.03.008
[24] Ravindranath, N.H., Murthy, I.K., Chaturvedi, R.K., Andrasko, K. and Sathaye, J.A. (2007) Carbon price-driven forestry mitigation in India by land classification. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 12, 1027-1050. doi:10.1007/s11027-006-9063-4
[25] Ravindranath, N.H. and Murthy, I.K. (2010) Greening India mission. Current Science, 99, 444-449.
[26] Levin, K. and Bradley, R. (2010) Comparability of annex I emission reduction pledges. World Resources Institute, Washington DC.
[27] Den Elzen, M.G.J., Hof, A.F., Mendoza Beltran M.A., Roelfsema M., van Ruijven B.J., van Vliet J., van Vuuren D.P., H?hne N., Moltmann S. (2010) Evaluation of the Copenhagen accord: Chances and risks for the 2?C climate goal. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Hague. http://www.usclimatenetwork.org/resource-database/ecofys-evaluation-of-thecopenhagen-accord-chances-and-risks-for-the-2b0c-climate-goal
[28] Eliasch, J., (2008) Climate change: Financing global forests: the Eliasch review. Earthscan, London.
[29] Miles, L. and Kapos, V. (2008) Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation: Global land-use implications. Science, 320, 1454-1455. doi:10.1126/science.1155358
[30] Venter, O., Meijaard E., Possingham, H. et al. (2009) Carbon payments as a safeguard for threatened tropical mammals. Conservation Letters, 2, 123-129. http://www.occ.gov.uk/activities/eliasch/Full_report_eliasch_review(1).pdf
[31] CARE (undated) CARE makes carbon finance work for poor and marginalised people. CARE & Climate Change. http://www.careclimatechange.org/files/carbon/CarbonFinance09.pdf
[32] IGES (2010) Developing National REDD-plus Systems: Progress challenges and ways forward. Indonesia and VietNam country studies. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Kanagawa.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.