CIFOR Publications RSS CIFOR Publications RSS Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:55:52 -0700 Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:55:52 -0700 <![CDATA[Smallholder Specialization Strategies along the Forest Transition Curve in Southwestern Amazonia]]>

Rural specialization strategies can be examined within the forest transition framework. We compared smallholder livelihood strategies between neighboring southwestern Amazonian sites at different stages along the forest transition curve. Surveys of 243 households in Pando, Bolivia and Acre, Brazil, within and outside of two major protected areas, confirmed a higher reliance on forestbased income in forest-rich Pando than in Acre. In Acre, forest reliance was higher in the protected area than outside, where forest cover was lower and households were more livestock-dependent. Country context and protected area status were critical to explaining different smallholder specialization strategies in similar biophysical environments.

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<![CDATA[Tenure and Forest Income]]>

We explore the relationship between tenure and forest income in 271 villages throughout the tropics. We find that stateowned forests generate more forest income than private and community-owned forests both per household and per hectare. We explore whether forest income varies according to the extent of rule enforcement, and congruence (i.e., overlap of user rights between owners and users). We find negative associations between enforcement and smallholder forest income for state-owned and community forests, and positive associations for privately owned forests. Where user rights are limited to formal owners we find negative associations for stateowned forests. Overlapping user rights are positively associated with forest income for community forests. Our findings suggest that policy reforms emphasizing enforcement and reducing overlapping claims to forest resources should consider possible negative implications for smallholder forest income.

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<![CDATA[Environmental Income and Rural Livelihoods]]>

This paper presents results from a comparative analysis of environmental income from approximately 8000 households in 24 developing countries collected by research partners in CIFOR’s Poverty Environment Network (PEN). Environmental income accounts for 28% of total household income, 77% of which comes from natural forests. Environmental income shares are higher for low-income households, but di erences across income quintiles are less pronounced than previously thought. The poor rely more heavily on subsistence products such as wood fuels and wild foods, and on products harvested from natural areas other than forests. In absolute terms environmental income is approximately ve times higher in the highest income quintile, compared to the two lowest quintiles.

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<![CDATA[Forest clearing in rural livelihoods]]>

This paper examines the factors that influence rural household decisions to clear forestland. We use a large dataset comprising 7172 households from 24 developing countries. Twenty-seven percent of sampled households had converted forest to agriculture during the previous 12 months, clearing on average 1.21 ha. Male-headed households with abundance of male labor, living in recently settled places with high forest cover, unsurprisingly tended to clear more, but regional peculiarities abounded. Households with medium to high asset holdings and higher market orientation were more likely to clear forest than the poorest and market-isolated households, questioning popular policy narratives about poverty-driven forest clearing.

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<![CDATA[Rural vulnerability to environmental change in the irrigated lowlands of Central Asia and options for policy-makers]]>

Climate change, land degradation and drought affect millions of people living in drylands worldwide. With its food security depending almost entirely on irrigated agriculture, Central Asia is one of the arid regions highly vulnerable to water scarcity. Previous research of land and water use in the region has focused on improving water-use efficiency, soil management and identifying technical, institutional and agricultural innovations. However, vulnerability to climate change has rarely been considered, in spite of the imminent risks due to a higher-than-average warming perspective and the predicted melting of glaciers, which will greatly affect the availability of irrigation water. Using the Khorezm region in the irrigated lowlands of northwest Uzbekistan as an example, we identify the local patterns of vulnerability to climate variability and extremes. We look at on-going environmental degradation, water-use inefficiency, and barriers to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and based on an extensive review of research evidence from the region, we present concrete examples of initiatives for building resilience and improving climate risk management. These include improving water use efficiency and changing the cropping patterns that have a high potential to decrease the exposure and sensitivity of rural communities to climate risks. In addition, changes in land use such as the afforestation of degraded croplands, and introducing resource-smart cultivation practices such as conservation agriculture, may strengthen the capacity of farmers and institutions to respond to climate challenges. As these can be out-scaled to similar environments, i.e. the irrigated cotton and wheat growing lowland regions in Central Asia and the Caucasus, these findings may be relevant for regions beyond the immediate geographic area from which it draws its examples.

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<![CDATA[Information networks and power]]>

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is a priority issue for forest and climate policy in Indonesia, and REDD+ policy-making activity has been characterized by considerable public consultation. Despite this engagement, discussions on REDD+ in Indonesia are reported to have remained top-down, a disconcerting pattern when adaptive governance and transformational change require cross-scale and cross-sectoral communication. Explicitly modeling the patterns of information exchange related to REDD+ can clarify these claims and help identify potential barriers to the transformational change needed to implement REDD+. We used data obtained through semistructured and structured interviews held in 2011 with representatives from a broad range of organizations (N = 64), formally or informally involved in the national REDD+ policy processes in Indonesia, to study REDD-related information exchange. Adopting a social network analysis approach, we found that (1) organizations perceived as most influential in REDD+ policy formulation, often, but not exclusively, those with institutional authority over particular aspects of REDD+, tend not to seek information from other actors and (2) organizations exchange information primarily within three clusters of similar organizations, with weak connections between clusters. This evidence suggests weak information exchange between the national government, national civil society, and transnational actors. We contend that the emergence of brokers able to connect these different clusters will be crucial for effective and inclusive REDD+ governance in Indonesia.

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<![CDATA[Local participation in REDD+]]>

There are concerns that local people will not be genuinely involved in initiatives to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). We analyzed local participation in the design of one REDD+ project in the eastern Brazilian Amazon, and assessed local hopes, worries and recommendations for the project through four community focus groups and interviews with 137 households at the site. Our results showed that only one-third of households interviewed (31%) had enough information about the project to describe it accurately. Of those, the majority (60%) hoped that the project would improve their incomes, followed by improving their agricultural production (33%) and helping protect forests (26%). While increasing household incomes was the dominant hope, people’s recommendations revealed that they favored non-monetary forms of compensation over the direct cash payments included in the proponents’ package of incentives. Their main recommendation was that the project should help improve their production systems through access to technical assistance, machinery and training, while valuing local production systems (46%). Our study highlights the need for participation that goes beyond passive consultation with local people to develop REDD+ interventions that best reflect local knowledge, land use practices and aspirations.

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<![CDATA[The challenge of establishing REDD+ on the ground: Insights from 23 subnational initiatives in six countries]]>

This CIFOR Occasional Paper presents research results on challenges experienced by proponents in their efforts to establish REDD+ subnational initiatives in Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Vietnam. On the basis of in-depth interviews with 23 organizations collaborating in CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+, it was found that the biggest challenges are tenure and the (currently) disadvantageous economics of REDD+. The study observes several patterns connected with these challenges. Performance-based conditional incentives are judged important but are not as central as once envisioned. Although most organizations are forging ahead with REDD+ in spite of the difficulties, some are drifting away from the label “REDD+.” Most of the organizations rely heavily on “integrated conservation and development” as a mode of operation, which enables them to move forward in anticipation of more favorable conditions for REDD+, but raises questions about whether REDD+ will fulfill its promise as an innovative and more effective form of conservation. The study proposes some options for overcoming the main challenges, and observes that there are some grounds for hope that REDD+ can eventually turn the corner and fulfill its potential for greatly reducing deforestation and forest-based carbon emissions.

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<![CDATA[Social impacts of the Forest Stewardship Council certification]]>

This Occasional Paper assessed the social performance of nine forest management units (FMU) certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and compared it with the performance of nine similar noncertified FMUs in Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo and Gabon. Results showed that the longer one company remained in one place, the deeper social relations with the neighbouring population became. This in itself is conducive to an environment in which there is less conflict between the local population and logging companies. However, it is usually only after companies decided to pursue certification that several practical social improvements occurred. In particular, in certified FMUs, this study found better working and living conditions for workers and their families; more inclusive and better governed institutions for negotiations between the local population and logging companies, except with regard to conflict-resolution mechanisms; better managed and more effective benefit-sharing mechanisms; and innovative ways of dealing with problems related to infringement of customary uses.

The complex historical and political-economic reality in which certification has developed in the Congo basin might well make issues of attribution and causality difficult to clarify. Yet results help establish a clear boundary that currently exists between certified and noncertified timber: The former is sourced in FMUs that implement not only legally mandated social standards but also voluntarily adopted ones that are superior and more effective.

There should of course be no complacency from the FSC or logging companies with certified FMUs in comparing themselves with the ‘bottom,’ as the logic of the FSC is to reward more responsible forest managers who are assessed against ever-evolving standards, irrespective of the quality of national legislation. But one should also not forget that companies with certified FMUs in the study countries are competing less against a theoretical global logging company than against their neighbours, who daily produce the same species and sell on similar markets, albeit with much lower investments, especially those targeted to improve social performance. In this very competitive and uneven playing field, and with the scarce price premiums obtained so far, the evidence presented indicates that certification in the Congo basin has been able to push companies toward remarkable social progress.

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<![CDATA[Impacts sociaux de la certification du Forest Stewardship Council]]>

Ce document occasionnel a évalué la performance sociale de neuf unités forestières d’aménagement (UFA) certifiées par le Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) et l’a comparée à la performance de neuf autres UFA similaires mais non certifiées au Cameroun, en République du Congo et au Gabon. Les résultats montrent que plus une société reste longtemps dans un lieu, plus les liens sociaux avec la population sont solides, ce qui favorise un environnement dans lequel il y a moins de conflits entre ce deux acteurs. Cependant, ce n’est en général qu’après la décision des entreprises d’obtenir la certification que l’on a constaté de réelles améliorations sociales. Cette étude a notamment constaté dans les UFA certifiées de meilleures conditions de vie et de travail pour les travailleurs et leurs familles ; des institutions plus inclusives et mieux gouvernées pour les négociations entre la population locale et les entreprises forestières, sauf en ce qui concerne les mécanismes de résolution de conflits ; des mécanismes de partage des bénéfices mieux gérés et plus efficaces ; et des manières innovantes de régler les problèmes liés à l’exercice souvent illégal de certains droits coutumiers.

La réalité historique, politique et économique complexe dans laquelle s’est développée la certification dans le bassin du Congo pourrait bien être à l’origine de la difficulté à expliquer les problèmes d’attribution et de causalité. Pourtant, les résultats aident à tracer la frontière claire qui existe actuellement entre le bois d’oeuvre certifié et non certifié : le premier provient des UFA qui appliquent non seulement des normes sociales légalement autorisées, mais également celles adoptées volontairement qui sont supérieures et plus efficaces.

Il ne faut pas que le FSC et les sociétés certifiées soient complaisantes en se comparant à des UFA non certifiées, qui à l’heure actuelle sont moins bien gérées. En effet, toute la logique de la certification FSC est d’évaluer les gestionnaires forestiers plus responsables avec des normes toujours plus performantes, quelle que soit la qualité de la législation nationale. Mais il ne faut pas non plus oublier que les entreprises avec UFA certifiées dans les pays de l’étude sont chaque jour en concurrence avec des entreprises non certifiées qui produisent les mêmes espèces et vendent sur des marchés similaires, mais avec des investissements beaucoup plus faibles, en particulier pour l’amélioration de leur performance sociale. Dans ce domaine très concurrentiel, et avec les primes limitées obtenues jusqu’ici, les résultats présentés indiquent que la certification dans le bassin du Congo a été en mesure de pousser les entreprises vers un progrès social significatif.

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