REDD+ Opportunity Costs Training Manual


This training manual shares hands-on experiences from field programs and presents the essential practical and theoretical steps, methods and tools to estimate the opportunity costs of REDD+ at the national level. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. REDD+ additionally includes conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks in developing countries. The manual addresses the calculation of costs and benefits of the various land use alternatives in relation to their carbon stocks and the identification of economic trade-offs involved in REDD+ activities. As required data are generally not readily available, the manual also includes information on data collection, analysis and evaluation techniques.


A Spanish version of the workshop presentations and the manual  is also available: Estimacion de los Costos de Oportunidad de REDD+

The training manual was used in regional workshops in:

  • Arusha, Tanzania in November 2010 with the United Nations REDD Programme (UN-REDD), World Bank and ICRAF/ASB
  • Bangkok, Thailand in April 2011 with the World Bank, RECOFTC, ICRAF/ASB, FORMIN Finland, GIZ, ASEAN, UN-REDD and ADB
  • Cali, Colombia in Mai 2011 with the World Bank, CIAT, ICRAF/ASB, IDB, UN-REDD and GIZ
  • Panama, in November 2011 with GIZ, CEPAL, the World Bank and CSF
  • Ecuador, in July 2012 with GIZ, CEPAL, CSF and the World Bank.

Manual & Presentations

Estimating the Opportunity Costs of REDD+

The REDD+ opportunity costs Training Manual can be downloaded free of charge.

It is divided into separate chapters, which can be downloaded as stand-alone units (recommended for slow internet connections), following the indicated hyperlinks.

0. Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Overview and preparations
3. RED(D++) policy context
4. Land use and land use change
5. Carbon measurement of land uses
6. Profits and net benefits from land uses
7. Opportunity cost analysis
8. Co-benefits of water and biodiversity
9. Tradeoffs and scenarios
10. Conclusions and next steps
11. Appendices

The target audience of the manual includes professionals within governments, universities, research institutions, international or non-governmental organizations and program developers who may use the presented methods and tools to estimate opportunity costs and incorporate these costs into recommendations for REDD+ policies and programs. As part of a capacity building objective, a series of training-of-trainer workshops is scheduled for countries participating in the FCPF and UN-REDD Programme in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The PowerPoint presentations used at these workshops can be downloaded here:

0 - Forest Carbon Partnership Facility: An update to the FCPF - A. Aquino
1 - REDD+ Signals from Cancun - N. Prasad et al.
2 - REDD Readiness and FCPF - A. Lotsch
3 - REDD+, FCPF and FIP in E-Asia - P. Jipp
4 - UN-REDD in Asia-Pacific - A. Kono
5 - REDD+ in Fiji - C. Fung
6 - Economics of REDD+ and OCA - P. Benitez
7 - REDD+ in Cambodia - M. Ogonowski
8 - OCA in REDD+ Preparation - A. Lotsch
9 - Introduction to OppCost Training Manual - D. White
10 - Land Use & LU Cover - M. v. Noordwijk
11 - Land Use Dynamics - M. v. Noordwijk
12 - Profits from Land Uses - D. White et al.
13 - Constructing an OppCost Curve - D. White
14 - Transaction & Implementation Costs REDD+ D. White
15 - Carbon Measurement - G. Kapp et al.
16 - Data from National Forest Accounting MRV - A. Lotsch
17 - GHG Estimation for LU Change in Cambodia - U. Kamal
18 - Community Forestry and Carbon - B. Mohns
19 - Carbon Payment Models - B. Vickers
20 - Water Co-Benefits of REDD+ - B. Mohns
21 - Co-Benefits of REDD+ and Opportunity Costs of REDD (P.  Minang and D. White)

A lecture and impressions from the Arusha workshop are captured in the following videos:

The Manual is accompanied by a Workbook with spreadsheet examples of alternative land uses and calculation of opportunity cost curves.

Users of this manual are also encouraged to use the REDD-Abacus software, developed by the World Agroforestry Centre, which provides an enhanced approach to derive opportunity costs curves.

The work was generously funded by the multi-donor trust fund Carbon Finance Assist and the FCPF.

Read a blog post on Trade-offs and other REDD+ Scenarios from PROFOR (a multi-donor partnership).

More from PROFOR: