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Carbon credits, afforestation and wildlife diversity, at last

By JW Dowey - 11 Aug 2014 6:30:0 GMT
Carbon credits, afforestation and wildlife diversity, at last

Two endangered species for the price of one? Carbon credits are now successfully being used to finance the whole shebang, from schools and farms to eco-tourism and new forest trees. Most important, local jobs, including even eco-friendly charcoal burning persuade communities to play a very full part in the process; zebra and elephant image; Credit: © Shutterstock

If you REDD between the lines, carbon markets such as Voluntary Emissions Reductions using VCUs or voluntary carbon units provide sustainable alternatives to communities that have been using up carbon. Illegal charcoal burning, intensive cattle grazing and hunting bushmeat have been replaced for some Kenyan communities with tree planting and agricultural intensification programs in the Kasigau Project. The position it has between 2 parts of the great Tsavo National Park makes it a tremendous corridor for wildlife

REDD means reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation. Remember that deforestation makes up 15% of all global CO2 emissions. We've have seen many non-African countries struggle with its management, but in Problems with REDD, there have been some examples of progress.

UNEP are at the centre of efforts by Wildlife Works to make sure the Kasigau Corridor is transformed for the rural communities there. The key there is job creation:

educational jobs would support schools, 18 new classrooms, a bursary program, conservation and community outreach programs;

eco-friendly such as organic cotton clothing products would be made locally and sold in western countries;

eco-tourism and ranger jobs would be for local people;

management jobs would be made available;

farming citrus trees, Neem and Moringa oliefera trees, jajoba and chili would provide employment;

the seedling and green charcoal project would release tree-growing jobs such as on Mt. Kasigau where 20,000 hardwoods should be planted.

From survival for themselves and their cattle to new environmental initiatives, the people of the Kasigau Corridor had first established the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary to help retain wildlife species. Wildlife Works made the Sanctuary into their first carbon project, paying in credits from Kenya Airways, Microsoft, Barclays Bank and many others. Expanding now to 500,000 acres, a million tons of carbon emission will be offset for the next 30 years. Between 2 great Kenyan wildlife reserves, the dryland Acacia-Commiphora forest has now re-established its exceptional biodiversity and claims useful climate benefits. The UN's and REDD's part in the story can be seen in - Wildlife Works in the Kasigau Corridor.

This savanna area is semi-arid, so, just like the great African idea of The Great Green Wall tree line to keep back the Sahara, the REED initiative is providing real and tangible benefit to people, endangered elephant, lion, cheetah, hunting dogs, Grevy's zebra, giraffe, birds such as the fantastic hornbills and many other species. The global warming question is also important to Kenya where low rainfall areas have been subject to terrible droughts, just as in many other countries.

However, the locals are most important as seen in the statement "the greatest success is that generally people now see the value to the environment," by Rob Dodson of Wildlife Works. "When we first came here we were shocked to see how rich the biodiversity of this area was and how poor the people were."