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Forests 2018, 9(10), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100638

How REDD+ Is Performing Communities

1
Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Morelia, 58190 Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico
2
Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group, Wageningen University, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 August 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 October 2018 / Published: 12 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
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Abstract

Community based approaches are becoming the norm in environmental governance initiatives. One prominent example of this is Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), a climate change mitigation strategy that aims at reducing carbon emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. REDD+ policies generally evoke communities as both potential beneficiaries of REDD+ and as agents for its implementation. However, it is unclear what REDD+ policies are really referring to when they talk about communities. Drawing on critical social science literature about the idea of community, this article advances a performative perspective to analyze how communities are articulated in international and national REDD+ policy, and reflects on the potential implications of these articulations. Results reveal that international policy documents, including those of the major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in REDD+, tend to present an interpretation that corresponds to Agrawal and Gibson’s myth of communities as small, localized, and homogenous social units that share social norms. On the other hand, national policy documents reveal enormous variety in the communities that are actually targeted in national REDD+ policies in terms of resources, governance structure, and social cohesion. One conclusion that could be drawn from this is that the dominant uniform interpretation of communities in REDD+ policy, and in much academic and NGO literature, is clearly unrealistic. However, this does not mean that it is inconsequential. We conclude our article by discussing the performative effects of the identified articulations of community. View Full-Text
Keywords: performativity; REDD+ policy; myths of community; forest governance; climate change performativity; REDD+ policy; myths of community; forest governance; climate change
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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Skutsch, M.; Turnhout, E. How REDD+ Is Performing Communities. Forests 2018, 9, 638.

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