REDD Controversial Among Indigenous Groups

Hailed by some as the one solid triumph likely to come out of Copenhagen, REDD, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plan, is garnering the ire of indigenous activist groups and environmentalists.

According to an article in Investigate West, opponents are calling REDD "a new form of colonialism," in which large corporations from developed countries could buy and sell indigenous lands as commodities, getting richer off of far-away lands "preserved" in exchange for unmitigated carbon emissions at home. There is no provision to ensure forests are maintained in their natural state, giving companies carbon offset credits for planting anything -- even a monoculture tree plantation in place of a mature, thriving ecosystem.

In Uruguay, for example, activists complained of a Pacific Northwest timber company that planted acres of pine and eucalyptus in an indigenous plains area. The natural ecosystem was not suited for forest, and indigenous people who were no longer able to survive in their native landscape were forced to move to towns and cities.

Activists are hoping their concerns about REDD and cap and trade will be heard and addressed. In the meantime, negotiations appear to be moving forward, and the agreement has generally been met with optimism.

Click here for a REDD cost and emissions reduction analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Click here for Brazil's answer to REDD: adding a provision so developed countries can only offset a small portion of their emissions through the program.

Click here for a Science Daily article that explores both sides of the REDD issue.