Professor Kim Looks for Incentives to Protect Forests
Yeon-Su Kim in NAU’s School of Forestry has been championing conservation with
development. “I believe there is no other way,” she says. “We cannot choose to
conserve a forest without the people in it.” Providing communities in
developing countries with incentives to protect their forests could slow down
Working in Indonesia
Kim’s latest research focuses on Indonesia, the world’s third-largest emitter
of greenhouse gases (behind the United States and China). The majority of these
emissions are coming from the destruction of Indonesia’s vast forests and
and a team of collaborators from Korea and the University of Mataram in
Indonesia are in a middle of a three-year project to assess the feasibility of
a REDD+ project on the island of Lombok in Eastern Indonesia. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
and Forest Degradation) is an international effort to mitigate climate change
in developing countries. It is part of
the United Nations Framework of Climate Change (UNFCC), which seeks to
compensate developing countries for their carbon credits.
“We cannot choose to conserve a forest without the people in it.”
first year of the project the team analyzed satellite imagery to assess changes
in the forest cover. In 2012, they identified encroachment from bordering
villages as the cause of the deforestation. Next year the goal is to develop a
strategy of economic incentives that might slow down forest degradation and, by
extension, reduce global warming. This strategy could become a blueprint for
working with other communities facing similar challenges.
from money from verifiably tradable carbon credits, Kim hopes to encourage
other income streams that can help the village people directly. One idea is
foster agro-forestry, such as coffee, cacao, and bananas that can be grown in
the shade of the trees in the buffer area adjacent to protected forest lands.
Another is to encourage forest communities to manage and protect watersheds by
assessing end users a small fee for these services—money that the community can
then use to buy seedlings and farm tools.
such immediate measures, Kim is committed to cultivating local forestry experts
for long-term sustainability. “My plan is to help Indonesian students and
faculty gain access to better education and international research,” she says.
“NAU is now working with University of Mataram to promote the exchange of
students and scholars.”
For more information about Professor Kim’s work in Lombok,
Indonesia, see her article “Integrating Conservation with Development:
Cultivating Expertise among the Local Inhabitants of Forests” on page three of NAU Global, the magazine of NAU's Center
for International Education at http://international.nau.edu/pdf/NAUGlobalFall2012.pdf.