REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a form of payment for ecosystem services (a voluntary transaction in which a buyer makes a payment to a seller conditional on the ecosystem providing some service, such as carbon storage) aimed at decreasing carbon emissions from conversion of forest to farm land and unsustainable harvesting of forest resources in lower-income countries. Community-based forest management (CBFM) can create the appropriate incentives and behavioural change required by REDD+ when the recipients of the REDD+ funds are also the key causes of that forest change.
However, when forest loss is caused predominantly by ‘outsiders’ to the community, who illegally cut timber or make charcoal, this community-based approach to REDD+ risks becoming primarily an enforcement programme, with communities enforcing against outsiders, and with the attendant conflict. In addition, when people are prevented from using their local forests, they may displace their harvesting activities into other, more distant forests, with such ‘leakage’ reducing the effectiveness of the REDD+ initiative.
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