REDD+ readiness implications for Sri Lanka in terms of reducing deforestation

Any system to compensate countries for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) requires a historical reference level against which future performance can be measured. Here we examine the possibilities Sri Lanka, a small forest country with limited data on forest carbon stocks, has to get ready for REDD+.We construct a historical reference level using available forest inventory data combined with updated 2008 and 2009 in situ carbon density data for Sri Lankan forests.

Furthermore, we use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to attribute the clearing of Sri Lankan forests in the latest years for which national forest inventory data are available, 1992-1996, to various proximate drivers and to estimate the opportunity cost of forest conservation. We estimate that baseline deforestation emissions in Sri Lanka amounted to 17 MtCO2 yr1 in the 1992-1996 period, but conclude that it is challenging for Sri Lanka to produce a robust and accurate reference level due to the lack of nationally based inventories.