(VEN) - The United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference - COP 16 - held in Cancun (Mexico) at the end of last year affirmed that the primary reason for climate change is forest burning and deforestation, increasing the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Thus, forest protection has been highlighted as an important measure to cope with climate change.
COP 15 held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 highlighted the importance of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) and REDD+ (some criteria were added such as biodiversity conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks). REDD is considered the greatest success because it requires lower costs and simpler technology than other methods. Thus, at an international seminar on forest conservation held in March 2010 in Vietnam, REDD and REDD+ were chosen as the best ways to cope with climate change. Scientists pointed out that the main reason for climate change is deforestation, so it is an urgent task for each country to foster a mentality of forest protection aimed against deforestation and forest degradation, as well as implementing suitable policies on forest management, protection and development, especially in developing countries and Vietnam in particular.
Vietnam is taking part in many conferences on climate change. It is also considered a pioneer in implementing REDD+. Specifically, in December 2008, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved the National Target Program on Coping with Climate Change. The program has been realized in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In the forestry sector, Vietnam is among few countries which took part in REDD+ and UN REDD preparation. Over the last 20 years, Vietnam has made proper forestry policies and implemented afforestation programs and programs on payment for ecosystem services (PES). Since the beginning of the 1990s, four million hectare of forests have been grown and 40 percent of forests have been recovered. Vietnam has considerable experience with afforestation. It has been proposed to be granted certification on absorbing CO2 through afforestation, not only by reducing deforestation.
According to associate professor, Dr. Bao Huy from Tay Nguyen University, apart from factories and industrial parks, changes in forests and forest land contribute to increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and raising greenhouse emissions. In addition, tropical forests can keep 50 percent of Carbon more than other types of forests. Thus, it is very necessary to implement REDD in Vietnam. Every year, the world has to spend US$2.3-12 billion on reducing forest degradation. REDD implementation is aimed at strengthening forest management and protection capacity and reducing natural forest disappearance. The Center of Research and Development in Upland Areas said that forests play an essential part in coping with climate change. Forests play an important role in biodiversity, water resource regulation, erosion reduction and ecotourism. In addition, forests can absorb a large amount of CO2. Normally, Carbon is retained in trees, living organisms on the ground, tree roots, deadwood and soil. When forests are burned, there are no trees to process CO2 and less is cleaned from the atmosphere.
At present, 37 countries including Vietnam have been chosen to implement REDD. After a certain time, each country has to calculate its amount of reduced emissions and receive relative certification on forest carbon. Those certifications can be sold on the carbon market all over the world./.
By Tuan Nghia