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Ten Years of REDD+: A Critical Review of the Impact of REDD+ on Forest-Dependent Communities

School of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Harbin Institute of Technology Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, China
Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe Ioppolo
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 620;
Received: 26 April 2016 / Revised: 16 June 2016 / Accepted: 24 June 2016 / Published: 2 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program, or REDD+, has been the international community’s first real attempt to create a global forest governance system which would impact countries on national, regional and even local scales. This paper provides an in-depth analysis on the impact of REDD+ on forest-dependent communities. The dimensions which are included in this review are institutions and governance, livelihoods, socio-cultural aspects, and the environment. Many studies confirm that forest-dependent communities are not sufficiently involved in current REDD+ projects. Furthermore, current and potential impacts of REDD+ on communities often disrupt local peoples’ livelihoods and strategies, institutions and socio-cultural systems in various ways, such as unequal benefit sharing, food insecurity, introduction of new powerful stakeholders, illegal land acquisition, unfair free prior and informed consent, and the introduction of monoculture plantations. REDD+ is also perceived as a neoliberal mechanism which renegotiates peoples’ relationship with the natural environment by monetizing nature. The paper concludes with a framework which addresses the potential drivers and threats of REDD+ concerning forest-dependent communities based on the literature review. This framework suggests a holistic approach to REDD+ implementation, which incorporates forest-dependent communities’ often complex relationship with the natural environment, such as incorporation of traditional forest management systems and provision of viable alternatives to loss of agricultural land. View Full-Text
Keywords: REDD+; forest-dependent communities; forest governance; livelihoods; global climate change REDD+; forest-dependent communities; forest governance; livelihoods; global climate change
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bayrak, M.M.; Marafa, L.M. Ten Years of REDD+: A Critical Review of the Impact of REDD+ on Forest-Dependent Communities. Sustainability 2016, 8, 620.

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