A group of researchers, led by Jesús Aguirre-Gutiérrez from the University of Oxford, has found that the actualimpact of planting trees is quite disappointing: biodiversity declines while carbon storage remains limited.

Planting trees to offset CO2 emissions has become a trend, particularly in the tropics where large monoculturetree plantations are established because trees grow faster there, sequestering carbon more quickly. The concept seems logical: trees remove carbon from the atmosphere, so if we plant enough of them, we can naturallymitigate climate change.

However, carbon sequestration tree plantations are usually monocultures dominated globally by just five tree species: teak, mahogany, cedar, silk oak, and acacia. Economically, this makes sense, but biodiversity in thoseforests is often lacking. Sometimes, infertile old forest soil is used, but more often, trees are planted in areas thatwere never forests but healthy biodiverse grasslands.

Moreover, an even more critical point made by the researchers is that even with significant efforts, the carbon storage capacity of such tree plantations is limited. “The current trend of planting trees for carbon storage leads to extensive homogenization for a small carbon gain,” state the researchers. “An area as large as the US, the UK, China, and Russia combined would need to be forested to sequester one year’s worth of emissions.” This is completely unfeasible. “In conclusion, prioritizing the preservation of the original ecosystem and maximizing itsfunctions should take precedence over the economic focus on carbon storage projects,” they emphasize.


Valuing the functionality of tropical ecosystems beyond carbon: Trends in Ecology & Evolution (cell.com)

While the ICVCM aims to ensure the quality of the carbon credits, the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) is directed towards corporate claims. The VCMI Claims Code of Practice was published on June 23d, 2023. It offers companies guidelines for the credible utilization of high-quality carbon credits and the associated climate-related claims. The VCMI underscores that companies can use investments in high quality carbon credits to complement their science-based decarbonization strategies. Such actions can play a pivotal role in limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

RBI welcomes the initiatives of the VCMI and the IC-VCM as they are crucial in aiding companies to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims, thereby mitigating potential risks such as reputational damage and potential fines from domestic authorities.

According to new data primary forest loss in 2022 totalled 4.1 million hectares, equivalent to the surface of the Netherlands.

Despite global commitments and pledges, this represents an increase of 10% compared to 2021. The cumulative forest loss resulted in a total carbon dioxide emission of 2.7 gigatonnes (Gt), which is more than half of Europe’s total emissions in 2019.

While primary forest loss remained high in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it rapidly increased in countries like Ghana and Bolivia. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Malaysia managed to maintain rates of primary forest loss at near record-low levels.

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) has launched its Core Carbon Principles and Program-level Assessment Framework on June 20, 2023.

The guidelines establish stringent criteria for disclosure and sustainable development, aiming to ensure the credibility and reliability of high-integrity carbon credits and establishing a pathway towards even higher ambition.

RBI recently advised Dutch MPs on the potential of achieving part of the climate goals of the Netherlands through global collaboration. The current post-2030 climate policy documents discussed in Parliament lack this aspect, with the exception of a letter to Parliament dated March 17, 2023, in which the Dutch Government announces that it shifts its focus from ‘climate neutrality in the Netherlands’ to ‘climate neutrality for the Netherlands’ in 2050’. This allows emissions offsetting within the EU.

While supporting this direction, RBI has advocated for extending compensation possibilities to outside the EU. This should involve tropical forest preservation and restoration under the UN’s REDD+ framework and the Paris Agreement’s Article 6. This approach offers cost-effective climate mitigation, as well as biodiversity conservation and sustainable growth in pivotal regions around the globe.

Benchmark nature-based carbon prices fell by the largest amount in years in December last year as traders rushed to exit positions before the end of the year amid lower demand, sovereign credit issuances and a disappointing outcome at COP27. The drop came after weeks of declining prices. Essentially the gains in the18 months before were wiped out.

Although prices have stabilized this year, there is still uncertainty in the market. Despite this setback, the long term outlook is still one of strong growth, A study conducted by EY indicated that, with rising demand and diminishing supply, credit prices within the VCM are expected to climb to 80-150 US dollar by 2035 in all scenario’s.

RBI’s new Memorandum of Understanding for 2023 and subsequent years has been signed by its members.

The MoU outlines the objectives of the REDD+ Business Initiative, as well as its rules of engagement. Additionally, the MoU announces the establishment the RBI Foundation as the executive branch of the REDD+ Business Initiative.

The RBI Foundation was legally established on January 25 of this year and has obtained the ANBI status from the Dutch Tax Office (Belastingdienst). ANBIs are entitled to certain tax advantages related to inheritance, gifts and donations. As part of the application for an ANBI status, a multi-year work plan has been drawn up and placed on this website.

In a recent report the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change determined that adhering to the EU’s remaining carbon budget requires a reduction of emissions by 90-95% by 2040. The Advisory Board assessed numerous scenarios, evaluating their feasibility along with associated environmental risks and challenges.

Additionally, the Advisory Board evaluated the fairness of the EU’s contribution to global emissions reduction efforts under different ethical principles. The Advisory Board identified a shortfall between the feasible pathways for domestic emission reductions and fair share estimates.

Given the observed gap between the feasible emission reduction pathways and fair share estimates, the Advisory Board concludes that the EU should not solely concentrate on achieving the highest level of domestic emission reductions but should also contribute to direct emission reductions beyond the EU borders. REDD+ offers an evident avenue to accomplish this!


A recent study published in Nature on March 15, 2023, indicates that just a quarter of the emissions from the deforestation and degradation of humid tropical forests are currently recouped through regrowth. Thus, it’s crucial to prioritize the protection of mature forests. Nevertheless, the study highlights the significant carbon uptake of regenerating degraded forests and secondary forests on formerly deforested areas, which currently represent 10% of the total forest area. The carbon absorption capacity of these areas is considerable and should be fully exploited.

This carbon sink is roughly equivalent to offsetting half of South America’s annual fossil fuel emissions. The research, using satellite data from the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative, focused on Kalimantan, the Amazon, and Central Africa. The findings showed that, per hectare, Kalimantan had the highest carbon uptake compared to the Amazon and Central Africa.

Moreover, the research team discovered that degraded forests in Borneo accumulated carbon at a rate approximately 50% faster than in the Amazon and Central Africa, likely due to its favorable climate and environment.



Human-induced global warming rates are currently at their highest levels in history, causing global warming at a rate exceeding 0.2 °C per decade. It is expected that this will result in a level of global warming of 1.5 °C or more within the next 10 years. This is much faster than previously estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The new estimates were recently published by a group of international climate scientists closely connected to the IPCC.

The current decade is of utmost importance to keep global warming under the 1.5-2 °C level of the Paris Agreement. Halting tropical deforestation is one of the few realistic options to make that happen on such a short notice.

Source: https://essd.copernicus.org/articles/15/2295/2023/