The implementation of the global programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries, and the role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+) is lacks a robust financial mechanism and is widely criticized for producing too little positive impact for climate, nature, and people. In many countries with tropical forests however, a variety of REDD+ projects continue to develop on the ground. This paper fills in some of the gaps in our understanding of the dynamic relation between global policymaking and implementation of REDD+ on the ground. Using the introduction of REDD+ in Southwest Ghana as an example, we apply a practice-based approach to analyze the different roles that local actors and global-local intermediaries played in the introduction of REDD+. Our results show a more balanced picture than polarized debates at the global levels suggest. The logic of practice explains how REDD+ was translated to the local situation. Global actors took a lead but depended on local actors to make REDD+ work. Together, they integrated elements of existing practices that helped REDD+ ‘land’ locally but also transformed REDD+ globally to resemble such local practices. REDD+ initiatives absorbed elements from established community-based conservation, forest restoration, and sustainable agro-forestry practices. The evolution of REDD+ in Ghana reflects global trends to integrate REDD+ with landscape approaches.
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