Forest and land use

Number of projects



Total GCF financing






Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) are responsible for close to a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These emissions are predominantly from deforestation and agricultural emissions from livestock, soil and nutrient management. Forests are both a source and a sink of GHG emissions, and are affected by climate change as an ecosystem. The co-benefits of interventions to address forest and climate change are wide-ranging. Tropical forests have the highest carbon density in biomass per hectare. Large swathes of tropical forest remain in certain regions, which is where the highest physical potential for emissions reductions lies. While some countries have successfully reversed trends of forest loss through reforestation and plantations, in many countries countries natural forest continue to be lost at a daunting pace. Deforestation as a mitigation measure has commanded substantial attention in the last decade. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation may account for a substantial share of global mitigation potential, and offer a wide array of cobenefits. There is broad consensus that efforts made to reduce deforestation offer greater mitigation potential at a lower cost than afforestation and other forest management interventions. Mitigation from forestry and agriculture has a high potential at a relatively low cost. To a large degree, their loss reflects governance and market failures and further emphasises the benefits of reducing forest losses.

Multilateral finance for REDD+ activities accounts for a small percent of total climate finance. Some funding have been dedicated to finance action on forests and climate change, but most of these are in support of “readiness” activities aimed at laying the groundwork for performance based payments for action. There is also a clear need to engage the private sector on REDD+ action given that many of the drivers of deforestation are linked to private activity related to agriculture and timber. Yest despite high expectations, there is limited track record in raising significant private finance to execute forest and land use-related activities.

Creating and sustaining an enabling environment for REDD+ can involve forest governance reform, land use rights clarification and reform, and removal or creation of subsidies. GCF efforts towards meeting the potential from forest activities will need to be context specific. For example, activities in some countries may focus around drivers linked to large-scale agriculture and unsustainable timber harvest, while small-scale agriculture would be a key driver in others. These contexts include the extent to which there is clarity on land use rights, and the quality of forest governance, alongside the extent to which high level development policy encourages activities that drive deforestation. There is good potential for GCF to utilise REDD+ results-based payment mechanism, in an effort to build on and foster new political momentum in order for the key countries to stick with the progress that has been made.


The following GCF projects support sustainable land use and forest management by providing country-tailored solutions that protect and rejuvenate forests.


SAP Technical Guidelines: Agriculture

08 Feb 2021

This publication provides technical guidance for the preparation of SAP proposals. The agriculture thematic area encompasses agricultural production, land-use changes caused by agricultural production and the food system in general. Agricultural production covers crop production and livestock. In addition to agricultural production the food system includes manufacturing, retailing, consumption and food waste.

SAP Technical Guidelines: REDD+

17 Jun 2019

This guidance has been developed to support GCF accredited entities (AEs) and national designated authorities (NDAs) in their preparation of concept notes and funding proposals under the simplified approval process for REDD+ (REDD+ SAP).

SAP Technical Guidelines: Forests and Land Use

17 Jun 2019

This publication provides technical guidance for the preparation of SAP proposals. The thematic area of forest and land use encompasses forests and other multiple land-cover types where forests are a prominent component of the landscape.