Management regimes for REDD+: an analysis of the regime in the RDS Rio Negro REDD+ pilot

Management regimes for REDD+: an analysis of the regime in the RDS Rio Negro REDD+ pilot

This report is an output of the project ‘Man and forests – an evaluation of management strategies for reduced deforestation (Mana_Forest)’, led by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway, in partnership with Fundação Amazonas Sustentável, Brazil; Makerere University, Uganda; Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania; the University of Oslo, Norway and the Woods Hole Research Center, USA. The aim of the project is to evaluate different management strategies undertaken to obtain reduced deforestation in tropical forests and hence maintain the various ecosystem services delivered. The concrete focus is on a set of so-called pilots for REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) established in Brazil, DRC, Tanzania and Uganda. Therefore the main focus is at carbon storage, while effects on biodiversity is also included.

One component of the project is aimed at characterizing a) the management regimes – also termed governance structures – established in the REDD+ pilot areas and b) how well the REDD+ governance structures are adapted to the local situation regarding institutional and ecological conditions. This report covers the analysis of these two issues for the Brazilian REDD+ pilot in the RDS (sustainable development reserve) Rio Negro, Brazil. The analysis is undertaken in cooperation between the Brazilian and Norwegian teams.

Establishing REDD+ is a demanding process – both internationally, nationally and at local level. From an international perspective, REDD+ was originally based on the presumption that the North – i.e., countries with responsibilities to cut CO2 emissions – pay the South to reduce the rates of deforestation and forest degradation (Angelsen 2008). From a subnational perspective, REDD+ was seen as a mechanism to support reduction of deforestation, poverty eradication as well as other sustainable development goals (Viana 2010). Following the Paris Agreement, REDD+ became a part of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is performance based in the sense that payments should be founded on verified reduction in these rates – hence, a reduction in the emissions of CO2. Carbon is not an easily ‘tradable’ good – whether it is done through carbon markets or through other forms of payments. One needs to define who is eligible for compensation. That may typically demand clarification of property rights to forests. Next one needs to develop systems for measuring activities to reduce deforestation respectively changes in carbon stocks, when applicable. There are also issues regarding the distribution of costs and benefits between actors at different levels as well as between and within forest communities, and there is the issue of development of alternative livelihoods. All these issues are politically, socially and technically demanding.

The case of Rio Negro is characterized by the fact that it is based on a sub-national program developed by the state of Amazonas to protect forests and support development in forest communities of the state – the so-called Bolsa Floresta program. It is an early initiative that in some way preceded the international development of REDD+. It is defined to operate in different types of protected areas called conservation areas (‘units’) of sustainable use.

This report has the following structure. First, we describe the status of the forests and forest governance in Brazil. In this section we also present the federal REDD+ policy and the policy for REDD+ in the state of Amazonas where the RDS Rio Negro pilot is situated. Then we turn to a presentation at the state of the forest in the RDS Rio Negro and the governance structures existing before the introduction of the Bolsa Floresta program in 2009. This is followed by a section describing the changes in governance and governance structures resulting from the introduction of Bolsa Floresta. Finally, we discuss how well the new regime is fitted to existing institutional and ecological conditions.

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