Saving forests? Take a leaf from insurance industry’s book

A group of environmental scientists, including Environment Institute member Professor Corey Bradshaw, say a problem-ridden economic model designed to slow deforestation can be improved by applying key concepts from the insurance industry.

REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a UN-promoted scheme that allows countries to trade in carbon credits to keep forests intact. It is mainly targeted at developing nations where deforestation and exploitation are a major threat.

Professor Corey Bradshaw

In a paper published online in the journal Conservation Letters, ecology researchers from Australia and South Africa argue that REDD projects can suffer from three major problems. They have proposed strengthening the scheme by using insurance policies and premiums, creating a new scheme known as iREDD.

“The idea of paying a nation to protect its forests in exchange for carbon pollution offsets can potentially reduce overall emissions by keeping the trees alive, and ensure a lot of associated biodiversity gets caught up in the conservation process,” says Professor Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and a senior author of the paper.

Professor Bradshaw and colleagues from James Cook University and the University of Pretoria have suggested using a form of REDD ‘insurance policy’ (iREDD) to avoid these problems.

iREDD involves the buyer and seller together assessing the risk in a forest conservation project, agreeing on that risk and then purchasing an insurance policy scaled to that risk.

Read the full Media Release to find out more

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