Comparing global and national approaches to estimating deforestation rates in REDD+ countries

This working paper aims to bring greater clarity to nontechnical audiences such as climate policymakers by offering a systematic comparison among methods used and forest monitoring results generated by REDD+ countries and global forest monitoring initiatives. First, review deforestation estimates in 33 national and subnational forest reference emission level (FREL) submissions to the UNFCCC, which are intended to serve as country baseline data for future conservation efforts. Then explain how much and why these results may differ from the globally consistent tree cover loss estimates derived from Hansen et al. (2013). Discuss the potential use of global approaches in terms of accuracy and cost savings, as well as the potential limitations, and offer recommendations.