Forests and Climate Change

Forests and Climate Change

The Social Dimensions of REDD in Latin America

Anthony Hall

Controlling deforestation, which is responsible for about one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, has become a major tool in the battle against global warming. An important new international initiative – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) – provides economic incentives to forest users to encourage preservation of trees. Nearly all Latin American countries are introducing national REDD strategies and pilot schemes.

Chapter 3: Getting Ready for REDD

Anthony Hall

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental geography, environmental sociology, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


REDD CHALLENGES Those charged with implementing REDD+ face many challenges indeed due to the contrasting regional and national circumstances in terms of major parameters such land ownership patterns, contemporary drivers of deforestation, experience with forestry and conservation policies, technical capacity and levels of political mobilisation. Chapter 2 traced the emergence of REDD+ negotiations at the global level, including proposed funding. Once funding has been secured, however, itself a major challenge, effective disbursement and implementation of appropriate policies will depend in the first instance upon the existence of a national REDD+ institutional architecture, ‘to define the capacities and responsibilities of the different actors involved and the rules for their interaction’ (Vatn and Angelsen, 2009: 58). This chapter will firstly consider some fundamental economic principles upon which ecosystem payments schemes such as REDD+ are based. It will then outline major challenges to be addressed in setting up a national REDD+ system in terms of overall programme coordination, allocating international funding to different stakeholders, and the setting up monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of activities. It will conclude by considering some major operational problems concerning additionality, leakage and permanence of emissions reductions, as well as efficiency versus equity issues and the possible influence of corruption. PAYING PEOPLE TO PRESERVE Underpinning REDD+ is the notion that providing economic incentives will encourage people to conserve forests rather than chop them down. Attributing economic values to Nature would allow it to be conceived as a stock of capital for the benefit of humanity, which could provide...

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