The proposed project seeks to contribute substantively to climate change and community forest management policies and advance the literature by analyzing the relationship between common property forest management (CPFM) in Ethiopia and climate policy within the context of the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) and proposing instruments for channeling REDD benefits to households.
REDD was established to facilitate emissions reductions from forests in developing countries and is currently envisioned as a critical mechanism for addressing this set of problems. The program is aimed at tipping the economic balance away from loss of forests and in favor of sustainable forest management. While facilitating climate benefits, it also seeks to unlock the potential of forests to directly benefit low-income countries, communities and forest users. Modalities for achieving these goals are very much under development around the world and detailed economic analysis is especially important right now. The proposed project will begin to provide the key insights needed to understand whether CPFM in very low income countries has a role to play in REDD. At present, nothing is known and after the project much more will need to be investigated. The proposed project, however, has the potential to offer insights into the basic economic feasibility of including CPFM in REDD. Key outputs of the project will include an academic paper tentatively titled Common Property Forest Management: Implications for REDD in Ethiopia. This paper will be suitable for publication in an appropriate peer reviewed journal. The project will also produce and distribute to policymakers a policy brief of approximately 4 pages that will summarize the research results in non-technical language. Dissemination of the results will be done by presenting the paper in academic conferences. The project is perhaps the first that seeks to bring climate change into the world of CPFM and CPFM into REDD. The project will use existing household and GIS spatial data on common forest biomass collected under the EfD project titled Household forest values under varying management regimes in Ethiopia with the goal to estimate CPFM carbon supply functions. The project will also incorporate what is known as a result of work associated with the EfD Initiative about on-farm tree planting responses. This work has shown that households experiencing generally-considered better CPFM plant more trees on-farm and a key hypothesis is that once explicit account is taken of on-farm tree planting resulting from CPFM, the carbon supply benefits of CPFM initiatives will be much higher than for common lands alone. The project will also shed light on what supports well-functioning CPFM when poor property rights systems like open access exist and evaluate the particular aspects of CPFM that are important for carbon supply. Though not a key focus, the project will also suggest instruments for channeling benefits to small, often poor, farmers.