Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Will REDD+ reduce rights of forest-dwellers?

Liz Kalaugher in Environmental Research Web: Over the last quarter-century, developing countries have begun to shift the management of their forests to a more local level. In many cases this has brought increased rights to local people, lower costs and better forest protection. But now, the uptake of large-scale REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) schemes to act against climate change could encourage governments to recentralize forest governance.

"This has clear implications for equity by potentially reducing local rights to forests," Ted Webb of the National University of Singapore told environmentalresearchweb. "It may also have important long-term implications for conservation because large-scale, centralized management has limitations to effectiveness and efficiency."

…"We found that nobody had really addressed the obvious tensions between the fact that massively funded REDD+ programmes focusing on forest conservation appeared to require heavy central government control, and that decentralization of forest governance represented the relinquishing of control by the governments to local levels," he said. "Emissions reductions can be achieved with protected areas but they are also needed outside protected areas, where decentralized management has been extensive in many countries."

Although centralized governance can protect forests and enhance regrowth, it's costly to enforce, limited to within-park boundaries and can cause resentment in excluded users, say the researchers. But a national approach appears essential for REDD+ schemes to enable reliable monitoring and reporting for carbon-accounting purposes and to ensure permanence….

Forest in Sai Yok National Park, Kanchanaburi, Thailand, shot by Ananda

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