Analysing REDD+ in Community Forestry: Has it Been Experienced Differentially at Different Households?

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"There is growing consensus internationally that the policy instrument of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) could be an effective way not only to reduce GHG emissions from the forestry sector, but also to enhance the bio-diversity and livelihood benefits of forests. Yet, there is a range of unresolved issues about REDD+, such as how this policy instrument will deliver multiple positive outcomes. In particular, the outcomes of REDD+ remain somewhat speculative in terms of how it will affect the livelihoods of local forest-dependent communities. This paper presents emerging results from research that examines the effects of REDD+ being delivered through Nepal's extensive community forestry agenda. The research explores the differential effects of REDD+ experienced by different households within selected villages in the Gorkha district of Nepal. The research reveals varying experiences by different households, with experiences closely correlating to the socio-economic attributes of households. For example, despite the 'no harm' goal of REDD+ for local communities, our research indicates that not everyone is experiencing the anticipated benefits of this new policy instrument. Although poorer and women headed households are privileged, provided support is limited and negligible to compensate the loss they have experienced. Households relying on subsistence forest farming are forced to seek alternatives with little additional skills or support provided, suggesting that poorer households may be doing much of the 'heavy lifting' for REDD+."
REDD, community forestry, livelihoods, IASC