Forest rights: The hard currency of REDD+

Kulbhushan Balooni, Jens Friis Lund*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


One of the proposed strategies for implementation of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus (REDD+) is to incentivize conservation of forests managed by communities under decentralized forest management. Yet, we argue that this is a challenging road to REDD+ because of three general characteristics of forests under existing decentralized management regimes. First, these forests already accumulate biomass and, in some cases, generate leakage, which threatens to undercut REDD+ additionality. Second, these forests are many and small, which will drive up REDD+ transactions costs. Third, beyond the "conservation islands" represented by forests under decentralized management, processes of deforestation and forest degradation continue. Given these challenges, we argue that REDD+ efforts through decentralized forestry should be redirected from incentivizing further conservation of forests under existing decentralized management arrangements toward a push for extending the coverage of forests under decentralized management, making forest rights the hard currency of REDD+.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Conservation
  • Decentralized forest management
  • Forest tenure
  • Leakage

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