NAVIGATING NET ZERO
With a growing sense of urgency regarding climate change action around the world, over 70 countries - including those which are the biggest polluters - have pledged to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions between 2050 - 2070. As efforts to decarbonize the global economy increase, demand for voluntary carbon credits could continue to rise. This is where ‘My Forest’ can plug a huge gap in this largely fragmented and difficult to navigate market.
FORESTS AND THE CARBON MARKET
Forests have always been an integral part of the carbon discussion. However, more recently, the narrative has shifted towards enhancement of forest carbon stock through their preservation and sustainable management. Forests globally are facing significant anthropogenic pressures leading to rapid deforestation and release of large amounts of greenhouse gases. The solution lies in offering the local communities and other stakeholders tangible and sustainable benefits for its conservation. The impact is compared against what would have happened in the absence of these conservation interventions, and carbon credits are issued: one for every tonne of CO2 that would have otherwise been released.
AERF (Applied Environmental Research Foundation) - the parent NGO of Nature Connect India Pvt. Ltd. has been working for conservation of the private forests of the northern Western Ghats for the past 28 years. By getting many of these privately owned, severely threatened secondary forests under ‘conservation agreements’, AERF has so far conserved more than 7000 acres of forests in the biodiversity hotspot region of the Western Ghats. Furthermore, extensive research and surveys have identified 15000 additional acres of threatened forests in the same landscape for immediate uptake under this project. In the past couple of years, AERF has also surveyed the privately owned mangrove forests on the west coast of India near Raigad district and brought some of them under conservation management as well.
We will soon be getting these carbon projects evaluated and certified by global certification agencies and these carbon credits can then be sold to governments, companies or individuals seeking to complement their internal emission reductions and to further decrease their carbon footprints.
OUR INTERVENTIONS, YOUR CREDITS
Forest conservation is a huge and complex undertaking - more so in a threatened biodiversity hotspot which is biologically and situationally as diverse as the open-access forest landscapes of Western Ghats. AERF and My Forest have successfully been able to work in cohesion with the forest-dependant communities here using various incentive-based multi-stakeholder engagement mechanisms. These in turn have brought forth immense potential to generate carbon credits in lieu of the forest loss and greenhouse gas emissions that they prevent.
1. PRIVATE FORESTS
AERF has brought more than 7000 acres of privately owned secondary forests in the northern parts of the Western Ghats under conservation agreements through which they are legally protected against deforestation. Furthermore our forest management activities like restoration, de-weeding, protection against grazing and trespassing etc. ensure their protection against degradation. Through NCIPL and My Forest, there is also a continuous and effective effort to create sustainable value from them for the owners and the local community to provide the extra incentive to preserve them, thus further bolstering our efforts to prevent deforestation.
Our carbon studies in these forests over several years have provided us with the following potential:
5 MtCO2 EQ. sequestered per acre per year
(Based on carbon estimation studies in a degraded forest patch - the ‘baseline’ - and a conserved forest patch for 15 years to get the ‘additionality’ in metric tonnes per acre per year - the result being 5 MtCO2 Eq.)
PER ACRE PER YEAR
PER BIOSTOVE PER YEAR
2. IMPROVED COOKSTOVES
In India today, the primary source of energy for rural households is wood fuel. One of the main threat of logging and deforestation comes from the local community’s need for firewood. AERF has developed and widely distributed ‘improved cookstoves’ called the ‘My Forest Bio-stove’ which run on agro waste like catechu chips. Our extensive pre and post distribution surveys have unfolded promising data on number of trees saved per year through the use of 1 My forest Bio-stove. The carbon potential is as follows:
2.62 MTCO2 EQ. SEQUESTERED PER BIOSTOVE per year
(Based on the average fuel wood usage of a typical beneficiary household prior to the use of My Forest Biostove which converts to 2.62 MtCO2 Eq.)
3. MANGROVE FORESTS
Various studies of mangrove ecosystems globally have indicated that these coastal forests store 4-5 times more carbon than their terrestrial counterparts. They form ecosystems that are referred to as ‘blue carbon ecosystems’. AERF is currently in the process of conserving the threatened mangroves along the west coast of India, in Raigad district. While few conservation agreements have already been successfully signed, a detailed carbon study is underway at these sites to determine the exact potential.
PER ACRE PER YEAR
*Current approximate standards for similar sites
As you can see, the opportunities for partnering with us in your journey towards your 'net zero' commitments are based on real on-ground research and science-backed data. Forest conservation - when done ethically and strategically - can yield excellent results. We are proud to say that with 28 years of experience of on-ground forest conservation in one of the most challenging landscapes of India, we are the authority on that!
Get in touch with us to know more about our 'net zero' projects.