Moving Beyond REDD: Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses In Nepal.


Nepal’s heavy reliance on land-based resources makes it hard to justify protection of any land or forest solely for mitigating emissions. As almost 80% of the population relies on land and forests they have a strong stake in land use. In addition, since most of the Terai forest is on fertile land suitable for farming, there is a huge opportunity cost in protecting such forest. Moreover, the community and forest interaction is complex, going far beyond pure economic relations, rendering inadequate any compensation based on narrow economic production. This adds to the challenges of calculating opportunity costs and to any carbon financing instrument based on the estimation of such cost. The government owns all the forest lands in Nepal. While about one-third of national forests is under community management, there is no transfer of ownership; only a few use and management rights are handed over. Normally, only the aboveground biomass is transferred. This applies more or less to non-forest land as well, including privately owned land. All transfers of rights are subject to periodic renewal and approval from relevant government agencies. The Forest Act 1993, National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 and associated rules and regulations are silent on carbon tenure. Lack of clear provision on carbon tenure may create confusion over forest carbon financing. Besides, as the state holds all residual rights under current law, communities may find it difficult to articulate their rights that are not already explicitly defined in favour of communities. Such waiting confusions over carbon tenure have implications for carbon financing. First, while the state is involved in different kinds of climate negotiation it is actually communities who are involved in carbon sequestration. Second, although communities are given certain use and management rights, it is not clear whether the communities own the carbon. The lack of clarity over carbon tenure may undermine the whole process, particularly when markets add value to carbon. Third, if communities are recognised as the owners of carbon, what is the appropriate unit of transaction that addresses both cost efficiency and equitable distribution of payments? While larger units are preferred to reduce transaction costs, smaller units may be preferred for equitable distribution.

Joshi, L.; Sharma, N.; Ojha, P.; Khatri, D.B; Pradhan, R.; Karky, B.; Pradhan, U.; Karki, S.;
Publications Details
Publication Type: Report
Year Published: 2010