Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects can mean planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide, producing sustainable and renewable long lived wood items from hard and soft woods (as opposed to paper) and green technologies such as wind mills. These projects will earn carbon credits that can be sold to companies who emit carbon dioxide through manufacturing for instance.
This is a vital tool, especially for forest-dependent communities who lack other economic alternatives.
In southern Kenya on the Chyulu Hills REDD+ project, a collaboration includes the local landowners, AWF, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, Big Life International, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Conservation International and Wildlife Works. The project spans 420,000 hectares, protecting not only the Chyulu Hills cloud and lava forests, but also the surrounding savannah woodlands.
Revenue from the carbon credits sold is re-invested into community projects, as determined by the community members themselves. These include providing financial support to the community school, supplementing the salaries of forest or game scouts, and safeguarding the Chyulu Hills water catchment, which supplies water to an estimated 6 million people downstream.
Additionally, the project lies between two major national parks in the landscape: Tsavo and Amboseli. By ensuring the protection of the forests, the Chyulu Hills REDD+ project is also maintaining a critical wildlife corridor, allowing wildlife to safely migrate from park to park in search of food, water and calving grounds.