Forests and climate change are increasingly dealt with as interconnected policy issues. Both the potential synergies and policy conflicts between forest conservation and restoration and climate change mitigation now receive sustained and high level attention from academic, policy analysis and practitioner communities across the globe. Arguably the most pronounced contemporary policy manifestation of this is the debate on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (or REDD+) by which governments and private investors from developed countries may compensate actors in tropical forest countries for reducing forest loss beneath an agreed baseline. Problems of climate–forest policies implementation and governance, however, can also be found in countries such as Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia. The future of instruments like REDD+ is uncertain with growing critiques on payment and performance-based mechanisms and unresolved issues of governance, government and accountability. This paper, and the special issue it introduces, illustrates that in the REDD+ debate many contentious issues have resurfaced from past debates. These issues include the participation and rights of local communities in forest policy and management; the relationship between internationally agreed payment and performance-based programmes and formal democratic decision-making processes and structures; the complexities of rights to carbon versus tenure rights; and the ways in which – in spite of the high expectations of both developing and developed countries to combat carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through the REDD+ mechanism – effective climate-focused forestry policies are seldom found in most tropical forest-rich countries. REDD+ is now very much the dominant discourse at the forest–climate interface, and one with a primary focus on measurability to communicate carbon mitigation results across various levels. However, this serves to disperse and displace, rather than resolve, policy-making on non-carbon values.
- forest governance
- redd plus