Liberia: US Developer Plans REDD+ Projects in Liberia

A forest in Sinoe County, one of the places that would be affected by the proposed Blue Carbon deal. The DayLight/James

….Becoming first American outfit to do so 

By Bijeta Lamichhane –

A US-based carbon offset developer has unveiled plans to develop REDD+ projects in partnership with local forest communities in Liberia. 

Established in 2022, BluEarth Carbon Development (BluEarth) announced that it will build a portfolio of REDD+ projects in Liberia with a mission to “mitigate climate change, conserve forest carbon stocks, preserve biodiversity, and promote sustainable livelihoods”, according to the company’s press release. 

The developer detailed that its decision to initiate projects in Liberia was driven by the company’s focus on avoided deforestation projects in West Africa. 

Liberia, a rainforest nation containing over 40% of West Africa’s remaining forests, faces threats from slash-and-burn agricultural expansion, legal as well as illegal logging, and poaching, the report noted. 

The country has lost 2.2 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 to 2022 a 23% decline since 2000 accounting for 1.25 billion tonnes of CO2e emissions, according to Global Forest Watch data. 

In January, AP reported an independent investigation had revealed a significant scale of illegal operations taking place in the Liberian rainforest, as the government agency responsible for protecting the forests had committed “multiple missteps or breaches of law”. 

Liberia’s participation in REDD+ projects began in 2007 after it received funding from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), followed by the submission of its Readiness Programme Idea Note (R-PIN) to the FCPF in 2008, and finally, the publication of its National Strategy in 2016. 

Earlier this summer, the Liberian government came under fire for awarding UAE-based Blue Carbon with crediting rights to 1 mln hectares of key forest land to develop carbon projects. 

In addition to rehabilitating natural carbon sinks and generating offsets, BluEarth aims to provide economically viable alternatives to deforestation by implementing performance-based payments made to local forest communities. 

The carbon developer will collaborate with land-owning and forest-dwelling communities to develop REDD+ projects to incentivise sustainable land use and promote forest conservation, the report noted.