One Tool to Fight the World’s Climate Crisis—With Additional Community Benefits

REDD+ plays a crucial role in conserving high biodiversity landscapes, delivering much-needed funds to support on-the-ground, long-term forest protection, wildlife conservation, and local communities.

REDD+ finance recognizes the crucial role governments and communities play in the ongoing protection of our forests and wildlife. Government and local communities become active participants in addressing the climate crisis, incentivizing the building of a rural, green, sustainable economy based on the maintenance and restoration of forests and wildlife.

Carbon sales revenue generated from reducing deforestation and degradation are directed through mutually agreed upon benefit sharing agreements towards interventions that are proven to prevent forest conversion. These interventions are led by local governments and the community members themselves, bringing long-term income to local communities battling poverty, hunger, and other livelihood issues.

WCS Projects


The Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary REDD+ Project

Photo Credit: ©WCS Cambodia
  • Partnership with Royal Government of Cambodia
  • Over 10 years in operation
  • Investments to date: over USD $33m
  • Protects 166,983 ha of forests in eastern Cambodia by reducing deforestation that results in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reductions in deforestation, to date: in the first 10 years of the project, over 16.3 million tonnes CO2 have been prevented from entering the atmosphere, saving 21,000 ha of lowland southern Annamitic forest and deciduous dipterocarp forest—some of largest and most intact blocks of these important ecosystems

The Keo Seima REDD+ Project aims to halt deforestation and improve conservation efforts and land management practices, while increasing sustainable economic opportunities for communities whose livelihoods depend on the ecological services of the forest.

This approach includes securing land and resource tenure for local communities, improving protected area management, law enforcement, and establishing sustainable alternative livelihoods for communities. To date, this has successfully resulted in:

  • 6 Indigenous Community Titles and 1 Community Protected Area
  • Development of successful community-led ecotourism model at Jahoo camp
  • Direct payments to communities under the benefit sharing mechanism
  • Improved law enforcement procedures and techniques, including community participation
  • Quantifiable improvements in community wellbeing
  • Stable numbers of key wildlife species


The Makira REDD+ Project

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
  • Partnership with the Government of Madagascar
  • 14 years in operation
  • Investments to date: over USD $3 million
  • Protects: 360,000 ha in the Makira Natural Park
  • Reductions in annual deforestation to date: 2.25 million tonnes of CO2 prevented from entering the atmosphere between 2005-2013, saving 6,0000 ha of the largest remaining low-to-mid elevation tropical rainforest in the country, and with the highest diversity of Madagascar’s emblematic lemur species.

The Makira Park is one of the largest remaining rainforests in Madagascar and recognized as one of the top biodiversity hotspots left in the world. The local population there depends on natural resources for their daily survival. Community benefits from the REDD+ project include:

  • Increasing the ecological sustainability of agricultural livelihoods
  • Creating new income streams for rural communities, with 101% increase in local household incomes
  • Bringing health care to isolated rural communities, with 1,368 people given access to health services through mobile health clinics
  • Engaging the next generation through environmental education

Sign Up for Email Updates

Get news from the field and learn about ways you can help Earth’s most threatened species.