Sustaining Local Livelihoods through Carbon Sequestration Activities:
A search for practical and strategic approach
Daniel Murdiyarso

Carbon sequestration projects through land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities could demonstrate a win-win situation from the point of view of climate change and sustainable development. Properly designed, these projects conserve and/or increase carbon stock and at the same time improve rural livelihoods. Project design is very crucial. This includes the use of methodologies to determine the baseline of carbon stocks, to monitor additionality and leakage, and to assess the broader environmental and socio-economic effects .In this way, one can measure the maintenance or increase in carbon stocks, and simultaneously increase involvement of low-income rural communities in sustainable forestry, agroforestry and other natural resource management activities.
Such projects have been developed and implemented in a number of countries with different ecosystems and social settings. They do not necessarily comply with the current legally binding carbon market under the mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

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The experiences and empirical evidence, however, need to be shared and tested if the environmental and development benefi ts are to be identifi ed and evaluated. This will eventually improve the understanding of the links between increasing carbon sinks and sustainable livelihoods in communitybased natural resource management. Furthermore, it is timely to explore strategic ways to approach future mandatory as well as voluntary markets. Most of the activities are project-based and within the scope of LULUCF activities, with a wide range of ecosystems and social settings. Thus, it was expected that the lessons learned would be rich enough to enable an exchange of the best practices that have arisen during the implementation of projects focusing on carbon sequestration and sustainable livelihoods. This is particularly important in order to anticipate future directions of payment mechanisms where carbon credits play an important role in initiating these mechanisms. Sectoral CDM, which means mandatory project implementation in full-fledged forestry practices, may be further explored. This will provide substantial room to consider activities such as rehabilitation of degraded forests and deforestation avoidance. The strict CDM rules in the CDM project activities have been simplifi ed for small-scale projects. It is very likely that most community-based forestry will fall under this category.
Sharing lessons would facilitate discussions based on the following research and development questions:

Carbon Sequestration Activities

++ How successful have the projects been in establishing or strengthening community-based natural resource management that promotes climate change mitigation and improves livelihoods?
++ How have the progress and results achieved been quantifi ed, reported and communicated?
++ What are the gaps in methodologies, tools and training materials that research and extension agencies should address to make projects more appropriate to the rural communities?
++ How can these projects attract outside donors and potential investors through the sale of ecosystem services, including certifi ed or verified emission reduction credits through mandatory or voluntary markets?
++ What new or revised policies and programs are required at various government levels to encourage replication and expansion of this type of programming?

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