The process of designing and implementing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism is gaining grounds in many tropical forest countries. There are concerns on the potentials of the existing forest management regimes to provide the necessary conditions for a successful REDD+ mechanism. This paper narrows this debate to Cameroon and examines past research on two forest regimes community forests and state forests regimes. It examines findings on equity in benefit sharing and the effectiveness of regimes to maintain or increase forest cover, and assess their compatibility with REDD+ exigencies. The paper argues that: (1) it is too early to draw conclusions on a suitable regime for REDD+ in Cameroon. 13, out of 14 research papers published up to 2011 accentuate on equity in benefit sharing, and the two regimes show proof of limited guarantee for the much expected REDD+ safeguards, this includes failures in vertical and horizontal distribution of benefits; (2) there is deficiency in studies on effectiveness of the forest regimes in managing forest cover as indicated by only 3 of the 14 studies. Despite the shortcomings in practice, certain elements of the forest legislation in Cameroon offer better opportunities for REDD+. This paper recommends more in-depth research based on rigorous methodologies to provide better bases for practitioners and policy makers to draw lessons from the management outcomes of the different regimes, which is relevant for the design of the national REDD+ policy strategy in Cameroon.
Publication Year: 2013
Source: Environment and Natural Resources Research 3(4)