Carbon, biodiversity, and livelihoods in forest commons: synergies, trade-offs, and implications for REDD+

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Newton, P ; Oldekop, J. A. ; Brodnig, G. ; Karna, B. K. ; Agrawal, A. (2016)
  • Publisher: IOP Publishing

Understanding the relationships and tradeoffs among management outcomes in forest commons has assumed new weight in the context of parallels between the objectives of community forest management and those of reduced emissions for deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)\ud programs to reduce carbon emissions while supporting local livelihoods. We examine the association between biophysical, demographic, institutional and socio-economic variables and three distinct forest management outcomes of interest to both community forestry and REDD+ advocates—carbon storage, biodiversity conservation, and livelihood benefits—in 56 forest commons in Nepal. REDD+ programs aim foremost to increase forest carbon storage and sequestration, but also seek to improve forest biodiversity, and to contribute to local livelihood benefits. The success of REDD+ programs can therefore be defined by improvements in one or more of these dimensions, while satisfying the principle of ‘do no harm’ in the others. We find that each outcome is associated with a different set of independent variables. This suggests that there is a need for policy-makers to clearly define their\ud desired outcomes and to target their interventions accordingly. Our research points to the complex ways in which different factors relate to forest outcomes and has implications for the large number of cases where REDD+\ud projects are being implemented in the context of community forestry.
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