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Facilitating agroforestation of landscapes for sustainable benefits: Tradeoffs between carbon stocks and local development benefits in Indonesia according to the FALLOW model

van Noordwijk, Meine, Suyamto, Desi Ariyadhi, Lusiana, Betha, Ekadinata, Andree, Hairiah, Kurniatun
Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2008 v.126 no.1-2 pp. 98-112
land use change, greenhouse gases, simulation models, sustainable development, landscapes, agroforestry, afforestation, land tenure, carbon sequestration, land restoration, opportunity costs, gas emissions, econometric models, forests, Indonesia
Although Indonesia has no shortage of land area that lost its forest cover before 1990 and has become the global leader in land-use based greenhouse gas emissions, the widespread expectation that the afforestation/reforestation approach to Clean Development Mechanisms (A/R CDM) could lead to sustainable development benefits has not so far materialized. The main challenges to implementation of the current A/R CDM mechanisms are in (1) the definition of forest and its institutional implications, (2) the projectization that is embedded in the definition of CDM, (3) non-linear baselines related to forest transitions that complicate attribution, (4) inherent lack of synergy with other development activities and (5) high transaction costs and temporary nature of credits. In possible new international regimes that aim to include all relevant changes in land-use based emissions, a more outcome-based programmatic approach may partially replace the project cycle assessments of CDM. However, there will still be a need to assess the combination of factors and policies that can be expected to enhance terrestrial carbon storage through voluntary land-use decisions, by a combination of reduced emissions and enhanced storage. Tradeoffs usually exist between local livelihoods and carbon storage, but assessment of the opportunity costs of C sequestration requires analysis at the landscape and community scale at scenario level, including local adjustment and optimization. We explored such scenarios for a number of cases in Indonesia that range from a forest margin to a degraded lands setting. FALLOW model applications were set up for 4 landscapes in Indonesia (15-98% forest cover, 1-55% grassland, 17-51personskm⁻²) to test the internal consistency of the hypothesis that farmer-led development of tree-based land-use systems in response to accessible markets, legal tenure arrangements, availability of reliable technical information and local investment can convert degraded forest lands at low public cost and form an attractive alternative to project-based interventions with detailed prescriptions and planning. The calculated (non-linear) baselines for carbon stocks varied from an average trend of -0.26 to +0.23MgCha⁻¹ year⁻¹ over a 25 year period of assessment, equivalent to a net sequestration of -0.95 to 0.84tCO₂ ha⁻¹ year⁻¹ The highest value for predicted additional carbon storage in the wider landscape did not coincide with the best results for local livelihoods, but in each of the case studies the results for a 'programmatic' removal of constraints to profitable smallholder tree-based production systems was more attractive than a 'prescribed' tree planting in designated project areas. These results support the design of international modalities for an outcome-based approach to enhancing carbon storage with local flexibility in implementation.