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"I’ve always enjoyed the forest. I grew up in Chubut province and used to go for long walks in many forested areas. As an undergraduate and postgraduate biology student, I had the opportunity to understand forests from many points of view," explains Pamela Quinteros, from the Patagonian Andes Forest Research and Extension Center (CIEFAP) in Argentina.


Forests can be looked at in many ways, and one of them highlights their role in combating global warming.


More-powerful hurricanes, longer droughts, and more-widespread flooding have burst into the lives of millions of people around the world. And the forests – native or planted, tropical, boreal or any other type – are standing there, absorbing carbon emissions and making their dutiful contribution to curbing the threats posed by climate change.


Understanding the vital role played by trees in the fight against climate change and giving them our support are the goals of the REDD + Academy and its national versions in different countries worldwide.


Last March, Quinteros participated in the course on Forests and Climate Change organized by the UN-REDD National Programme of the Argentina Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. "If social and environmental safeguards are considered with the broad participation of society, interesting tools can be developed to reduce forest degradation and deforestation, and thus diminish the contribution of forests to greenhouse gas emissions,” she says.


Every year, people are trained in different regions of the world on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through the REDD+ methodology, and on the social and environmental benefits that can be achieved through this process.


The REDD + Academy has trained more than 1,000 people in 36 face-to-face courses in different countries throughout the world. This initiative that was created in 2014, launched its second edition this year – an updated version of the content of its twelve Learning Journals. In addition, the academy has had an online course platform since 2015. This platform has received more than 5,400 enrollments and issued more than 500 certificates to date.


Forestry technicians, agronomists, and other experts update their knowledge through the REDD+ Academy to conserve their countries’ forests. "I think the REDD + mechanism can be useful to help advance the development of consensual forest policy proposals for better use and conservation of native forests, consolidating and expanding available tools such as Law 26,331," explains Gabriel Loguercio of CIEFAP and student of the second edition of the course in Argentina.


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Law 26.331 on Minimum Standards for the Environmental Protection of Native Forests of Argentina establishes, among other things, that the provinces must manage their native forests through a process of participation that categorizes the possible uses for forested areas as conservation forests, areas transformed for agriculture, or sustainably managed forests. The law also includes a compensation mechanism for environmental services.


The course in Argentina has already held two editions. The first was attended by 66 participants in October 2016 in the city of Paraná, Entre Ríos. The second took place in the City of Buenos Aires in March this year with a participation of 61 people.


Loguercio, who chose to be a forestry engineer from an early age, says the course allowed him to update his knowledge “on the status of international negotiations on climate change and on the steps to prepare the National REDD+ Strategy and implement it."


"However, I think that for forests and the forestry sector to help mitigate climate change, there must be greater sectorial integration, including planting forests, which in Argentina has been done mainly on degraded forest-free lands,” he informs.


Other countries in the region, such as Peru, Honduras and Colombia, have adapted the REDD+ Academy to their needs. In Colombia, the first version of the academy for indigenous people was held one year ago.


Countries prepare their own REDD+ strategies. The way they conceive the survival of their forests and their contribution to the fight against climate change shapes their REDD+ policies and measures.


Quinteros says of Argentina, "If there is a long-term institutional commitment to strategies and measures that ensure the continuity of the work initiated in the lines of Law 26.331 of native forests, and if social and environmental safeguards are respected, it is possible to achieve a sustainable path that leads to a better quality of life for people and the conservation of forests."


For more information on the REDD + Academy, click here.