REDD – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – is a new form of payment for environmental services that has to potential to fund forest protection in Tanzania. REDD programs would build on the Government of Tanzania’s introduction of new forest laws that have enabled the implementation of Participatory Forest Management (PFM)Because any policy that slows forest degradation does so by limiting resource access bynearby forest-dependent communities, implementing REDD will require understanding those communities forest management/use decisions and their likely response to REDD policies, even if REDD policies funnel monies to those communities.
One of the key – yet neglected – issues for REDD is the change in incentives that it creates for forest-dependent communities. Before REDD, individual households faceprivate costs and benefits of collecting NTFPs from the forest and make their decision accordingly. After REDD, funds or benefits often accrue to groups and must be shared, possibly at district/ regional/ national level as well as among villagers. How individual behaviour changes in response to such group benefit sharing is critical to the success of such projects. Even direct payments to individuals do not guarantee that the individuals will change behaviour and conserve resources – some monitoring and enforcement are required.
Our project focuses on the incentives that REDD will create for villagers to comply with the regulations that restrict access from forests designated for REDD initiatives. Our emphasis is enforcement; changing incentive structures from the individual to the group; and spillovers and leakages. Indeed, the key challenges that will be faced by REDD initiatives: enforcing access restrictions; changing villagers’ incentives to cooperate with REDD and reduce their use of designated forest resources; and preventing spillovers, or leakages, from REDD forests to less protected forests, are those that have been faced by forest-related initiatives that pre-date REDD but have not been suitably dealt with.
Our proposed project will provide an assessment of the general policy literature to situate REDD amongst the series of similarly-aimed policies and identify general rules for REDD implementation that address the incentives generated. We will assess the Tanzanian forest policy setting and specific REDD proposals to identify policies and locations that are likely to see success from REDD. As a conceptual framework we will build on a body of literature by Albers, Robinson, and co-authors that modelshow perfect and imperfect forest access restrictions change villagers’ incentives in terms of the quantity and location of forest resource collection. We will use as a case study two locations where REDD is to be piloted – most likely in the Eastern Arc mountains, a biodiversity hotspot where we have worked before; and the Mpingo forests in south-eastern Tanzania where the Mpingo Conservation Project is on-going.
Our overall objective is to show how incentive structures can be designed to create appropriate protection regimes and benefit sharing to enable success of REDD in terms of protecting forests within a landscape; protecting livelihoods; and reducing forest manager/ forest user conflict. We anticipate that our project will improve the wider discourse on REDD by emphasising issues of leakage and individual versus group incentives and imposed costs; will focus attention on the forest degradation component of REDD, which is particularly important in Africa yet receives little critical discussion; and more specifically will inform NGO and Tanzanian government decisions about modifying REDD protocols for Tanzania and prioritizing their implementation in areas where they are most likely to succeed.