Cost-effective payments for reducing emissions from deforestation under uncertainty

Produced as part of the Governments, markets and climate change mitigation CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 72


The paper analyses the implications of landowners’ option values in land allocation and derives policy recommendations for payments for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

Given that REDD will not represent a permanent change in the cumulative flux of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, payment scheme design is motivated by the need to secure forest carbon sinks over time (the ‘permanence criterion’) while remaining relatively cost-effective.

Alternative payment schemes, combining fixed and variable components, are considered in a framework with two competing land uses, forest and agriculture.

Cost-effectiveness depends on the dependency structure between the returns from the indexed component of the payment and the returns from the alternative land use, the relative volatility level of the underlying returns, and the relative combination of fixed and variable payments.

After developing the general model, it is is applied to REDD policy scenarios in Parana State, Brazil.

Stefanie Engel, Charles Palmer, Luca Taschini and Simon Urech