Can REDD+ Save the Forest? The Role of Payments and Tenure
Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming, 1000 E University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 August 2012; in revised form: 28 August 2012 / Accepted: 19 September 2012 / Published: 1 October 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Forests for Carbon Capture and Storage)
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Abstract: A recent policy response to halting global forest deforestation and degradation, and any resulting greenhouse gas emissions is REDD+, which also includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Although still in its infancy, the success of REDD+ will depend significantly on whether it can be economically viable and if any resulting payments are sufficient to cover the opportunity cost plus any transaction cost. Where tenure security over forest is weak, REDD+ can pose a risk for forest communities, who could be dispossessed, excluded and marginalized. This review of existing studies explores how payment for avoided deforestation, and forest tenure impact the success of REDD+ projects in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Effectiveness refers to the difference between deforestation with and without REDD+, efficiency refers to avoiding deforestation at minimal cost, and equity refers to the implication of REDD+ on benefit sharing. We conclude that the potential success or failure of REDD+ as a means to reduce deforestation and carbon emission on forest commons depends critically on designing projects that work within existing informal tenure institutions to ensure that carbon storage benefits align with livelihood benefits.