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Special Issue "The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Economics and Human Dimensions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Bas Arts

Chair of the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group (FNP),Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR),P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands,Droevedaalsesteeg 3, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31 317 486196
Interests: forest governance, politics of governance, global-local nexus
Guest Editor
Dr. Verina Ingram

Assistant Professor, Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group Senior researcher, Wageningen Economic Research Wageningen UR, the Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31 (0)317 489476
Interests: global value chains, NTFPs, impact assessment
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Maria Brockhaus

Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Latokartanonkaari 7, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0294157979
Interests: forest governance, political economy of deforestation, transformational change, policy networks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

REDD+ represents countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The basic idea is that more carbon will be sequestrated and stocked in tropical forests by improving their conservation, management and sustainable use, thus contributing to mitigating climate change. Developing countries concerned, and relevant stakeholders, will be financially compensated for these endeavors, either through public funds or through private carbon markets.

REDD+ has been discussed as a mitigation option at UNFCCC from the early 2000s onwards, however, as “Avoided Deforestation” (AD) at first, then subsequently as RED, REDD and REDD+ at later stages, thus expanding the concept to ever more aspects of forest conservation, management and use. Whereas it was ‘just’ an innovative proposal tabled by Costa Rica and PNG in 2005, it finalized its “institutional journey” as a legally-binding Article in the Paris Agreement from 2015.

In the meantime, various international bodies and developed countries had started REDD+ programs and funds (World Bank, UNDP, UNEP, Norway), while various developing countries entered into so-called “readiness activities”, to prepare for full participation in REDD+. Currently, hundreds of REDD+ projects are being implemented around the world. Yet, many observers, stakeholders and scholars are critical. Carbon markets have not developed as envisioned in 2005, the efficiency and effectiveness of REDD+ for climate change mitigation has been questioned and many REDD+ projects have been built on previous initiatives of forest protection, re-/afforestation, and community forestry, now relabeled as REDD+. Some would even claim: “REDD+ is dead”. Others are more optimistic and believe that the mechanism will improve its performance in the future, when climate change will become more pressing and carbon markets will perform better under such conditions. Additionally, various technical issues related to the efficiency and effectiveness of REDD+ might be solved by then.

Whatever be the case, there is an urgent need for assessing the performance of REDD+, while taking into account its various levels (from the global to the local) and its various dimensions (e.g. results based payments, MRV, co-benefits, community engagement). The notion of REDD+ performance also raises various questions, for example: Does the Paris Agreement and its current elaborations offer suitable guidelines and incentives for (cost) effective REDD+ initiatives? To what extent do international carbon markets perform well, and how could they be reformed as to better serve the needs of developing countries and its REDD+ stakeholders? And what about the many REDD+ projects on the ground? How do they work? To what extent do these live up to the promises of forest conservation, local development, inclusiveness of stakeholders, etc.? What syntheses and trade-offs can be distinguished? And how do the performances at various levels (global-national-local, and vice versa) relate, strengthen or weaken each other?

This Special Issue invites submissions assessing the performance of REDD+. ‘Performance’ can however mean various things: 1. Economic (cost)effectiveness of policy measures; 2. Multi-criteria achievements (efficacy, legality, legitimacy, democracy, etc.); 3. Output, outcome and/or impact of policies; 4. The way success and failure are staged or ‘performed’ by stakeholders; and 5. The ‘performativity’ of REDD+, or how its conception enable or constrain certain ways of managing forests on the ground, and (dis)incentivizes certain kinds of behavior. We welcome all such contributions, which will probably imply a Special Issue with various approaches, methods and theories. But we aim for such a variety, to assess REDD+ from various angles, for example single and multi-case studies, large-N inventories and ethnographies, impact assessment and evaluation studies, both qualitative and quantitative, as well as various theories from economics, political sciences, public administration, development studies, anthropology and geography. Also, multi-level analyses (global-local, or local-global) are particularly invited.


Prof. Dr. Bas Arts
Dr. Verina Ingram

Prof. Dr. Maria Brockhaus

Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • REDD+
  • Forest carbon stocks
  • Deforestation / forest degradation
  • Forest management / policy
  • Climate change
  • Climate change policy / mitigation
  • Multi-level governance
  • Project planning / implementation
  • Impact assessment
  • Performance analysis
  • Evaluation studies
  • Multi-level analysis

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Spiders in the Web: Understanding the Evolution of REDD+ in Southwest Ghana
Forests 2019, 10(2), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020117
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 2 February 2019
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Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
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Open AccessArticle “Embodied Deforestation” as a New EU Policy Debate to Tackle Tropical Forest Loss: Assessing Implications for REDD+ Performance
Forests 2018, 9(12), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120751
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
The need to tackle international drivers of deforestation has long been acknowledged; but remains little addressed via policy measures. In the European Union (EU), a new policy debate is emerging around the concept of “embodied deforestation”, which targets EU agricultural commodity imports as [...] Read more.
The need to tackle international drivers of deforestation has long been acknowledged; but remains little addressed via policy measures. In the European Union (EU), a new policy debate is emerging around the concept of “embodied deforestation”, which targets EU agricultural commodity imports as drivers of deforestation. The notion views deforestation as an externality generated by EU imports associated with tropical deforestation. Our article examines whether this concept represents a shift in tackling international-level drivers of tropical deforestation within EU policy. We also examine, from a networked governance perspective, whether this new debate fuels further fragmentation or rather a move towards a more integrated approach to combating tropical forest loss within EU policy, and what the implications are for other initiatives, such as the climate change related “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (REDD+). Our analysis draws on an extensive analysis of EU policy documents and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and EU decision-makers. We find that, despite growing debate around the concept of embodied deforestation, policy measures necessary to reduce the impact of EU consumption of agricultural commodities associated with tropical deforestation have not yet been developed. We conclude that “embodied deforestation” remains more an idea than reality within EU policy to date, with the burden of responsibility for addressing international deforestation drivers still largely remaining on developing countries. There is still potential, however, for this debate to lead to a more integrated approach to tackling tropical deforestation within EU policy, if it comes to be seen, together with REDD+, as one of a number of linked approaches to EU efforts to combat deforestation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
Open AccessArticle REDD+ as a Public Policy Dilemma: Understanding Conflict and Cooperation in the Design of Conservation Incentives
Forests 2018, 9(11), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110725
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 1 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
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Abstract
Command-and-control policies are often criticized as insufficient to tackle tropical deforestation. Over the past two decades, both academics and policy-makers have promoted incentive-based policies, notably REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), as attractive alternatives to curb forest loss, while also potentially [...] Read more.
Command-and-control policies are often criticized as insufficient to tackle tropical deforestation. Over the past two decades, both academics and policy-makers have promoted incentive-based policies, notably REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), as attractive alternatives to curb forest loss, while also potentially contributing to the poverty reduction of forest-dwelling populations. Governments have been the driving force behind the largest incentive-based forest conservation programs in Latin America. Many science-based recommendations on how to design effective incentive-based policies have, however, not found much resonance within policy circles. To understand the gap between recommendations and practice, it is important to analyze how these schemes are designed towards achieving environmental and non-environmental outcomes. To this end, we analyzed the comprehensive history of governance dynamics behind two government-led incentive schemes in Ecuador and Peru. We found that electoral interests and bureaucratic politics exerted pressure on policy design teams, which eventually traded off long-term societal efficiency concerns against short-term administrative goals. Priority was often given to non-environmental concerns, due to perceptions of political feasibility, the influence of non-environmental government agencies, and beliefs in particular government roles or public response. These findings are especially relevant for scholars studying the design, implementation and impacts of incentive-based conservation policies, and for practitioners aiming to enhance policy efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
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Open AccessArticle Competing Tenures: Implications for REDD+ in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Forests 2018, 9(11), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110662
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 24 October 2018
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Abstract
The capacity of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forests to sequestrate carbon has attracted interest from the international community to protect forests for carbon storage and alleviate rural poverty by establishing REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Using information gathered [...] Read more.
The capacity of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forests to sequestrate carbon has attracted interest from the international community to protect forests for carbon storage and alleviate rural poverty by establishing REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Using information gathered from interviews, focus groups, field observations, and policy document analysis, this paper demonstrates that REDD+ is not well adapted to the institutional structures of forest governance in the DRC, including both statutory and customary tenure. The lack of harmonization between these systems has created a situation of competition between state and customary authorities. This has created opportunities for powerful actors to ‘shop’ between the two systems to attempt to legitimize their expanded use and control over forest resources. As the REDD+ process evolves from the preparation to the implementation phase, competing institutional structures may negatively impact the effectiveness of REDD+, as well as the distribution of costs and benefits. While the newly enacted community forest law provides an opportunity to recognize customary rights to forestland, the lack of functional local government at the district and village levels has prompted REDD+ pilot project organizers to establish new village organizations for REDD+. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
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Open AccessArticle How REDD+ Is Performing Communities
Forests 2018, 9(10), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100638
Received: 22 August 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 October 2018 / Published: 12 October 2018
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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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
Open AccessArticle Trifecta of Success for Reducing Commodity-Driven Deforestation: Assessing the Intersection of REDD+ Programs, Jurisdictional Approaches, and Private Sector Commitments
Forests 2018, 9(10), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100609
Received: 15 August 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 2 October 2018
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Abstract
To date, numerous public- and private-sector efforts, commitments, and initiatives to reduce commodity-driven deforestation have emerged. In and of themselves, these elements—namely REDD+ programs, jurisdictional approaches (JAs), and private sector commitments—are necessary, but they are not sufficient to reduce deforestation. When operating together, [...] Read more.
To date, numerous public- and private-sector efforts, commitments, and initiatives to reduce commodity-driven deforestation have emerged. In and of themselves, these elements—namely REDD+ programs, jurisdictional approaches (JAs), and private sector commitments—are necessary, but they are not sufficient to reduce deforestation. When operating together, however, these efforts have the potential to significantly reduce commodity-driven deforestation. This research aimed to determine whether and where REDD+ programs, JAs, and private sector commitments overlap in what are termed “trifecta jurisdictions”. Considering that each element possesses features that can enhance and complement those of the others, the authors hypothesized that—but did not ascertain whether—trifecta jurisdictions present the greatest potential to reduce commodity-driven deforestation. A total of 13 trifecta jurisdictions and six bifecta jurisdictions—where two of the three elements are present—were identified by: compiling a dataset of REDD+ programs, JAs, and private sector commitments; evaluating all potential options against established criteria; and categorizing them according to trifecta or bifecta jurisdiction status. The fact that a majority of trifecta and bifecta jurisdictions are located in countries with the most tropical tree cover loss is also significant in that it highlights the presence of these elements where most needed, and how high deforestation rates might be attracting REDD+ program, JA, and private sector commitment activities. Although many of the REDD+ programs, JAs, and private sector commitments are relatively nascent and their ability to collectively reduce deforestation is not yet clearly evident, this article posited that synergistic potential is greatest in trifecta and bifecta jurisdictions and that efforts should be made to greater align these elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Progress of REDD+ Projects towards the Sustainable Development Goals
Forests 2018, 9(10), 589; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100589
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 16 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Almost a decade since the establishment of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), this study investigates the extent to which REDD+ projects are delivering on the promise of co-benefits and the elusive ‘triple-win’ for climate, biodiversity, and local communities. The Climate, Community [...] Read more.
Almost a decade since the establishment of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), this study investigates the extent to which REDD+ projects are delivering on the promise of co-benefits and the elusive ‘triple-win’ for climate, biodiversity, and local communities. The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCB) is among several leading REDD+ certification standards that are designed to support the delivery of social and environmental co-benefits, and ‘socially-just’ carbon. This study uses an in-depth content analysis of 25 subnational REDD+ project documents to assess the extent to which REDD+ project objectives align with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets, and evaluates the reporting of progress towards meeting these objectives. Currently the CCB standards address a relatively small subset of SDG targets. Despite this, we find that REDD+ projects aspire to work on a much broader set of SDG target objectives, thus going beyond what the CCB Standards require for REDD+ validation. However, although reviewed REDD+ projects have these aspirations, very few are actively monitoring impact against the goals. There is a gap between aspiration and reported progress at the goal level, and for each project: on average, only a third of SDGs that are being targeted by REDD+ projects are showing ‘improvement’. The analysis shows which global goals are most frequently targeted, and which are the least. It also allows an analysis of which projects are following through most effectively in terms of monitoring progress towards the SDGs. This assessment provides insights into the priorities of REDD+ project proponents, suggesting that REDD+ has unfulfilled potential to elicit positive change in relation to the SDGs. Our analysis also shows that there is considerable potential for the safeguarding bodies to do more to ensure that real improvements are made, and reported against, aligning REDD+ projects more strongly with global development agendas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
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Open AccessArticle National REDD+ Implications for Tenured Indigenous Communities in Guyana, and Communities’ Impact on Forest Carbon Stocks
Forests 2018, 9(5), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050231
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract
Early project-level initiatives of ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD+) have left a negative impression among many forest-dependent peoples (FDP) across the tropics. As countries move towards national-level implementation and results-based payments, it is timely to analyze the effects of ‘national [...] Read more.
Early project-level initiatives of ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD+) have left a negative impression among many forest-dependent peoples (FDP) across the tropics. As countries move towards national-level implementation and results-based payments, it is timely to analyze the effects of ‘national REDD+’ on FDP. We use Guyana’s technically approved United Nations Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) submission and Opt-In Mechanism to assess how fifteen indigenous communities with tenured forestland may financially benefit from national REDD+, and evaluate whether, and to what extent, Guyana forms a best-case scenario. In addition, we provide a first-time assessment whether field estimates of the average carbon density of mature forests managed by fifteen forest-dependent communities (beyond rotational farming lands) equals that of nearby unmanaged mature forest, as this could affect REDD+ payment levels. We conclude that, notwithstanding some pending issues, Guyana’s national REDD+ program could be very beneficial for FDP, even under a modest United States (US) $5 unit carbon price. We present economic evidence to support forest governance change domestically in sovereign developing countries that may ease FDP tenure and national REDD+ implementation. The average carbon density was locally substantially less in FDP-managed forest, but had little effect on the overall carbon stock of the titled forest area, and is considered modest when incorporating ecological and socioeconomic attributes. Partnerships with FDP when combined with advances in remote sensing could have potential for economic monitoring of forest emissions across the tropics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Performance of REDD+: From Global Governance to Local Practices)
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