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Forests 2017, 8(3), 69; doi:10.3390/f8030069

Costs of Lost opportunities: Applying Non-Market Valuation Techniques to Potential REDD+ Participants in Cameroon

Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G-2H1, Canada
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Academic Editors: Esteve Corbera and Heike Schroeder
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Politics, Interplays and Impacts)
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Abstract

Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) has been systematically advanced within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, implementing REDD+ in a populated landscape requires information on local costs and acceptability of changed practices. To supply such information, many studies have adopted approaches that explore the opportunity cost of maintaining land as forest rather than converting it to agricultural uses. These approaches typically assume that the costs to the smallholder are borne exclusively through the loss or gain of the production values associated with specific categories of land use. However, evaluating the value of land to smallholders in incomplete and messy institutional and economic contexts entails other considerations, such as varying portfolios of land holdings, tenure arrangements, restricted access to capital, and unreliable food markets. We suggest that contingent valuation (CV) methods may provide a more complete reflection of the viability of REDD+ in multiple-use landscapes than do opportunity cost approaches. The CV approach eliminates the need to assume a homogenous smallholder, and instead assumes heterogeneity around social, economic and institutional contexts. We apply this approach in a southern rural Cameroonian context, through the lens of a hypothetical REDD+ contract. Our findings suggest local costs of REDD+ contracts to be higher and much more variable than opportunity cost estimates. View Full-Text
Keywords: reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; carbon retention; avoided deforestation; willingness to accept; payments for ecosystem services; contingent valuation. reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; carbon retention; avoided deforestation; willingness to accept; payments for ecosystem services; contingent valuation.
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Thompson, D.Y.; Swallow, B.M.; Luckert, M.K. Costs of Lost opportunities: Applying Non-Market Valuation Techniques to Potential REDD+ Participants in Cameroon. Forests 2017, 8, 69.

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