Mwangi Githiru@TUM

Maingi Githiru (DPhil) visited the Chair of Terrestrial Ecology from 29th of January until the 1st of February 2018. During his stay we had interesting discussions about the Taita Hills and how to combine the activities of the DAAD Quality Network Kenya with ongoing activities taking place in the REDD+ project (the Kasigau Corridor), which he is currently leading.  Furthermore, he contributed an interesting talk about “Implementing REDD+: Policy, philosophical and practical issues facing forest carbon projects”.

REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation”, and is an idea mooted from the 2007 Bali UNFCCC meeting (COP-13), where an agreement was reached on “the urgent need to take further meaningful action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”. At its core therefore, REDD+ aims to change incentive structures in favour of protecting forests so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also deliver “co-benefits” including biodiversity conservation and social improvement. Maingi Githiru discussed in his talk on how to deal with the intractable drivers of deforestation while retaining local community support and enhancing their livelihoods? What are the some of the key issues, opportunities and challenges involved in actual implementation, and how do they scale from the local (project) level to jurisdictional or national scales? In his talk he presented some of these issues besides the underlying philosophy around REDD+. He illustrated how market-driven REDD+ projects function, exemplified by the first dual (VCS and CCB) validated REDD+ project in the world—The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, which takes place close next to Taita Hills. This project is conducted by the NGO Wildlife Works and has been running for six years and has accumulated vital lessons that can be useful for other actors in the REDD+ fraternity, plus forest conservation practitioners in general.

During the upcoming activities, the DAAD quality network will collaborate closely with Wildlife Works, and we will combine data sets to answer various questions on land management and biodiversity conservation.