This article introduces the special issue “REDD+ crossroads post Paris: politics, lessons and interplays”. The contributions to the special issue demonstrate, first, that REDD+ design in the studied countries has generally lacked social legitimacy and sidelined key actors that have an important role in shaping land-use sector dynamics. Second, they show that REDD+ early actions have tended to oversimplify local realities and have been misaligned with other policy goals and local needs. Third, REDD+ efforts have remained constrained to the forestry or climate mitigation policy sectors and have thus suffered from a lack of harmonization across local, national and international concerns, specifically of contradictory policy. As REDD+ moves from its preparedness to its implementation phase, more research efforts should be aimed at analysing the power relations that underpin and determine the design and implementation of REDD+ policies and actions, the potential for and limits to the vertical and horizontal harmonization of land-use policies and management, and the processes of resistance to or accommodation of REDD+ practices on the ground. In doing so, we advocate for multi-and transdisciplinary research that does not take for granted the benefits of REDD+ and which critically scrutinizes the multiple goals of this ambitious international policy framework, and where it sits within the broader Paris Agreement implementation agenda.
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