Assessing Contribution Of Carbon Markets In The Enhancement Of Carbon Sinks And Community Resilience To Climate Change: A Case Of Kasigau Redd+ Project, Kenya
The services provided by ecosystems are critical in supporting humankind, and upon which all life depends. Over time, ecosystems have faced increasing degradation as a result of human activities. One of the major causes of degradation is lack of market value for ecosystem services. It is for this reason that carbon trading is emerging as a market based approach that translates external, non-market values of the environment into incentives to encourage continued provision of these ecosystem services by land owners and/or users. Carbon trading has attracted much interest in developing countries especially projects on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and climate smart-agriculture. However, the contribution of carbon market to both conservation and livelihoods remains unclear. This research evaluated the contribution of carbon markets through REDD+ to enhancement of carbon sinks, and community resilience to climate change, focusing on the Kasigau REDD+ project. Kasigau project was purposively selected since it is the only project at the time of the study that had received payments from the voluntary markets. Forests were used as a proxy for carbon sink, Carbon terrestrial sinks are seen as a low-cost option to fuel switching and reduced fossil fuel use for lowering atmospheric CO2. this study used forests activities to create CO2 offset credits a proxy. The objectives of the study were: 1) to assess the contribution of Carbon markets through REDD+ to the enhancement of carbon sinks, and 2) To assess the contribution of carbon markets to the enhancement of community resilience to climate change. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques were used to analyse forest cover change in the case study area, to ascertain whether the Kasigau REDD+ project had led to enhanced carbon sequestration by increasing forest cover in the project area. Forest cover vi was used as a proxy measure of enhanced carbon sequestration as trees and hence forests are part of the natural carbon sinks. It was assumed that an increase in forest cover would lead to increase in carbon sequestration. Secondly, primary data analyzed to assess whether the Kasigau REDD+ project had led to an increase in income and hence enhanced resilience of households in the project area to climate change. The main findings from this research are: 1) There has been an increase of about 40% in forest cover, hence carbon sinks, in the Kasigau project area that can be attributed to the Kasigau REDD+ project; 2) The Kasigau REDD+ project led to an increase in the household income reduced distances to social amenities such as schools and hospitals for households engaged in the project. These findings reveal that the Kasigau REDD+ project has had some other beneficial effects on the households engaged in the project. Further, this increased forest cover, hence carbon sinks in the project area can be attributed to the Kasigau REDD+ project. Thus it can be concluded that REDD+, if implemented at county level and national level, it can enhance household wealth and also contribute to environmental conservation. This research recommends REDD+ as a win-win policy measure that could be adopted by both the National and County Governments as a measure to address deforestation and attain the ten percent forest cover provided for in the Constitution 2010. Further options of involving the private sector should be explored to increase their participation in the conservation sector. The study recommends further research on best benefit sharing options that would enable communities and participating stakeholders at the local level to maximize benefits coming from carbon markets as well as other multiple benefits.
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