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REDD+ has the potential to deliver benefits beyond climate change mitigation alone – though these benefits depend on the location and type of REDD+ action implemented. A new report Planning for REDD+ in Panama: securing social and environmental benefits supports REDD+ planning in Panama by identifying areas with the potential to deliver additional social and environmental benefits from REDD+ actions, as well as locations under pressure from deforestation.

The report includes maps of these areas, providing information to planners on locations where the potential for social and environmental benefits may make reducing deforestation a priority for REDD+ actions, as well as where REDD+ actions need to take account of potential risks. Results of the spatial analyses were reviewed jointly with national counterparts in Panama in a series of technical workshops.

The benefits examined reflect some of the priorities identified by local and national stakeholders in Panama, and include the role of forests in storing carbon, controlling soil erosion control, and supporting biodiversity, tourism and local livelihoods. The criteria for prioritization of benefits were: potential for generating investment, contribution to quality of life, and relevance for Panama's national development strategy.

A UN-REDD Programme partner country since 2008, Panama aims to implement REDD+ in alignment with the country’s conservation and development efforts. The national REDD+ strategy in Panama is currently being designed, and is being linked closely with national development priorities. The REDD+ strategy includes as its main areas of work: the reduction of deforestation, reduction of forest degradation, and an increase in carbon stocks – both in terms of restoring forest and agroforestry activities focused on the increase of tree cover alongside productive activities such as agriculture and cattle grazing. Discussions on the REDD+ strategy will consider issues of the spatial distribution of monetary and non-monetary benefits.

The spatial analyses presented in this report can support land-use planning for REDD+ by helping to identify:


  • Areas where forest carbon is most at risk of being lost through future deforestation;
  • Possible benefits and risks associated with actions to reduce deforestation in different places;
  • Areas where conserving forest carbon stocks and reducing deforestation may yield multiple benefits, such as biodiversity and ecosystem services conservation; and
  • Where the design of REDD+ actions needs to take into account local livelihood needs, based on how poverty, deforestation risk and biomass carbon are distributed. 

In combination with information on costs of implementation, such information can help to assess more thoroughly the potential gains from REDD+ actions in relation to the costs of REDD+.


Panama photo1

In some remote rural areas, there is a relatively high dependence on forests
for local livelihoods.  REDD+ planning in such areas needs to take account of this. 


Photo by Caitlin Read
Creative Commons  (CC-BY2.0). 








In addition to identifying where REDD+ actions could potentially deliver individual specific benefits, the report combines separate results to identify forest areas of potential importance for multiple benefits from REDD+. Using projected probabilities of deforestation, areas of forest important for various combinations of potential benefits that are potentially at risk can be highlighted (in red on map shown). The benefits considered are: above- and below-ground biomass carbon, key biodiversity areas, the importance of forest for limiting soil erosion, and forests in areas of importance for eco-tourism, adventure tourism and scientific tourism. 

The report can be downloaded in English and Spanish here.





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