From a geoengineering perspective, REDD is most significant with regard to its potential to promote A/R activities. In practice, however, afforestation and reforestation have figured marginally in efforts to build a REDD architecture. But a new report from the Rights and Resources Initiative titled The Greener Side of REDD+ makes a strong, straightforward argument for elevating the status of A/R, either within REDD as a "+" component, or outside REDD as a companion mechanism. Put simply, its authors contend that afforestation, reforestation, and restoration of degraded lands (ARRDL) "is a necessary complement to REDD" (italics original, p. 31):
If REDD is pursued aggressively and successfully, but demand for wood and wood products continues to rise, then REDD alone will not be enough. That is because, as a country locks up its forests and reduces illegal logging under REDD programs, domestic wood supplies will dwindle and countries will turn to imports, thereby exporting their deforestation and forest degradation, unless the imported wood comes from sustainably managed, oftentimes planted forests. (p. 29)
In other words, REDD without complementary A/R is likely to result in cross-border leakage, essentially transferring deforestation to other countries lacking the capacity to avoid it. Preventing leakage means finding a sustainable replacement. And A/R, both domestic and international, is best positioned to provide such a replacement. Viewed in this light, A/R becomes doubly important as a CDR technique, directly in terms of new carbon sequestered, and indirectly as a backstop for avoided deforestation. For these reasons, as well as additional co-benefits such as poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation, A/R deserves prominence far beyond its current role as a minor CDM project type.
(As an aside, this post makes abundantly clear the need to supplement this blog with an acronym list--I plan to add this as a resource in the near future.)