Luang Phabang province in northern Laos is covered in lush forests; but, the decline in forests due to slash-and-burn farming methods is becoming serious. In this province, there is a mechanism being implemented to preserve the forests in developing countries called REDD+*8. Marubeni is participating in a project, along with Waseda University, Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd., Japan Forest Technology Association and the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute of Laos.
REDD+ is a mechanism for the international community to provide economic support when a developing country takes measures to prevent deforestation and forest degradation, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions or increasing the amount of carbon stocks by the forest. The aim of this project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by introducing alternative means of livelihood that do not rely excessively on slash-and-burn farming methods. To facilitate the smooth implementation of the project, an important theme is building a system based on collaboration with the neighboring communities. Also, in terms of biodiversity conservation, projects are carried out in accordance with the Laos government’s plans and strategies based on the Convention on Biological Diversity, while also considering the validity of the wildlife conservation methods.
In addition to the traditional paddy field cultivation and the cultivation of coffee, since the 2017 fiscal year efforts are being made to grow high-added-value fruits like strawberries and blueberries, as well as introducing alternative means of livelihood , such as weaving, woodworking, and breeding of livestock. There are also plans to establish technical stations in various villages and village clusters to provide technical support for forest preservation, and creating the base for continuous project implementation.
The implementation of REDD+ in Luang Prabang province involves about 30,000 hectares in the Phonxay district near the village cluster of Houaykhing, achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions of approximately 130,000 tons annually. There is a total of about 2 million hectares of forest in the Luang Prabang province in total. If the activities of the REDD+ project are expanded to quasi-national basis in the future, there is the potential to achieve a 3-million ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions annually. This project is included in the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) framework between Japan and Laos, and Japan’s contribution to suppressing climate change is also expected.
8 REDD＋:Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries