Philippine forest project gets global recognition for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, other benefits

5/31/2011

Reforestation project in Quirino, Philippines first in Asia to get Verified Carbon Standards (VCS) nod

Philippines - A reforestation and agroforestry project being implemented by Conservation International in Quirino, Philippines was recently recognized under the Verified Carbon Standards (VCS) program, the leading global standard and quality assurance system for accounting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions in the voluntary carbon market.

Projects recognized under the VCS would mean that they have been validated to provide real, additional and permanent greenhouse gas emissions that countries, companies or individuals can claim carbon credits for their agriculture, forestry and other land use activities. 

The VCS recognition of the Quirino Forest Carbon Project (QFCP) came after it has passed the standards upon validation by a third party auditor, Rainforest Alliance this month.  It also achieved Gold-level validation under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards last year for integrating community and biodiversity benefits in project implementation. These CCB Standards provide a mechanism for validating the multiple benefits that forest carbon projects deliver to local communities and biodiversity, and mitigating climate change. The QFCP is the first forest carbon project in Philippines and also in Asia  to achieve both VCS and CCB validations .

“With this latest development, the QFCP is now starting the process to claim carbon credits under VCS – a first in the Philippines and Asia,” said Romeo Trono, Country Executive Director of Conservation International Philippines. This success reveals that it is possible to obtain carbon credits from reforestation projects in a country like the Philippines, where most carbon credits are mostly coming from the renewable energy sector. 

“It is a breakthrough for a GHG removal project from the forestry sector  to produce carbon credits for the voluntary carbon market, but on top of this, benefits to the local communities involved and biodiversity conservation are also realized,” according to Conservation International. “It’s a three-pronged approach to helping the country by providing communities with alternative livelihood from the reforestation and agroforestry efforts, while simultaneously contributing to mitigating climate change and protecting threatened biodiversity.”

The QFCP is being implemented in the Quirino Protected Landscape (QPL), a 175,943-hectare protected area in Quirino province that hosts diverse endemic and threatened flora and fauna and supports the sustainable development of nearby provinces. The area is the headwater of the Cagayan Valley River Basin, which supports major irrigation systems in the entire Cagayan Valley Region.

“We are working with local communities to implement projects that let them enjoy livelihood benefits while also providing practical, affordable solutions to climate change concerns,” said Trono, explaining that the long-term objective of the project is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by restoring and protecting forest in QPL, while benefiting local communities and biodiversity resources in a Key Biodiversity Area in Quirino Province, Northern Luzon, Philippines as part of the Sierra Madre Biodiversity Corridor.

“The project creates alternative income for local communities, promotes protection of plant and animal habitats, and helps to stabilize the ecology of the watershed area to ensure a steady supply of water, This VCS and CCBS double validation status has proved the quality of the project, and we hope it will enhance and expand the activities in the QPL,” said Trono. 

The project consists of establishing 177 hectares of agroforestry and reforestation parcels within Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) farms.  These are managed by local community members who voluntarily offered their areas for the carbon sequestration project for the next 23 years from project startup in 2007.The project has already planted 41 hectares of ISF farms with various fruit trees such as lanzones, rambutan and citrus sp., and indigenous tree species such as molave, kalantas, narra, and balakat gubat, among others, in Maddela, Quirino. 

This year, planting of fruit trees and tree species will continue on 136 hectares of agroforestry and reforestation areas in the other villages covered by the project. The project is expected to sequester 31,771 tCO2 over its entire project duration, provide direct benefits to 96 participating households and help restore biodiversity and improve ecosystem services that the local communities can enjoy.

This project with multiple benefits was possible with the participation of the Moretrees, non-profit carbon offset provider, for providing the full project funding.  According to its website, moreTrees “believes that the offset should not be applied to benefit a specific country in order to satisfy its Kyoto Protocol standard.” As such, moreTrees’ investment that ensures benefits to the Philippine project site  is a very good example of invoking partnerships with the private sector in addressing simultaneously community development, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation/adaptation for sustainability.

The QFCP is the second project by the Conservation International Philippines to receive the gold rating after the same rating (under the CCB Standards, Second Edition) was approved for the Philippine Peñablanca Sustainable Reforestation Project (PPSRP) in Peñablanca, Cagayan in December 2009.

The QFCP is implemented in partnership with the Quirino-based Palacian Economic Development Association, Inc. (PEDAI), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the provincial government of Quirino, and the local governments of Maddela and Nagtipunan, Quirino. 

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For more information, contact:
Marion Daclan, Conservation International-Philippines
6 Maalalahanin St., Teachers' Village, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel No: +63-433-8429; 433-5129; 924-8235
Fax No: +63-435-6446
Email: mdaclan@conservation.org

Note to editors:
Conservation International (CI) — Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI has headquarters in the Washington, DC area, and nearly 900 employees working in more than 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, visit www.conservation.org and follow us on Twitter: @ConservationOrg or Facebook: www.facebook.com/conservation.intl

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