Research Handbooks in Climate Law series
Edited by Christina Voigt
Chapter 5: The legal status and role of safeguards
The implementation of REDD+ activities and policies may have significant social and environmental impacts. On the one hand, restrictions upon forest uses associated with avoided deforestation and degradation may affect indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities’ livelihood and means of subsistence. On the other, activities carried out to enhance forest carbon stocks, such as afforestation, may have negative impacts on biodiversity, by replacing biodiversity-rich non-forested landscapes with biodiversity-poor forest plantations. Furthermore, the implementation of REDD+ activities could be difficult in the context of faltering regulatory environments that tend to characterize forest governance in developing countries. Awareness of these potential trade-offs and risks prompted the IPCC to warn that forest-based mitigation activities need to avoid negative impacts associated with competition between land uses. Negotiations on REDD+ have witnessed a lively debate on how to avoid perverse outcomes and combine REDD+ activities and policies with the pursuit of co-benefits (or multiple benefits, as they have also been termed), such as biodiversity conservation, improved forest governance and a wide array of societal advantages.
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