“Social scientists have a key role to play in improving tropical conservation development and outcomes. A better understanding of the human and social dimensions that underpin environmental change is instrumental for effective conservation.”
Carolina Gueiros practiced environmental law in her hometown of Belém, Brazil, where she worked on many cases involving the implementation of the Brazilian Forest Code and first became invested in the issue of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. She pivoted from legal research and practice to investigating the public policy dynamics of Brazilian environmental law during her Master’s degree at the Yale School of the Environment. She is currently pursuing a DPhil at the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, where she is focusing on the adoption of jurisdictional Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) policies by Brazilian states, and on evaluating the impacts of REDD+ initiatives in the Brazilian Amazon.
Carolina’s research tries to understand why some states in the Brazilian Amazon have adopted jurisdictional REDD+ policies while others have not, with a theoretical focus on the interplay of transnational influences and the domestic policy dynamics observed within individual states, and between the states and the federal government. She is also interested in understanding the impacts of REDD+ initiatives on deforestation and the wellbeing of communities in the Brazilian Amazon, especially of jurisdictional policies.
In her research, Carolina has employed both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. She conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with key policy makers, industry and civil society representatives who participated in the REDD+ policy processes that took place in five Amazonian states (Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Mato Grosso and Pará). The findings suggest that transnational economic incentives were key in influencing state governors to place a REDD+ jurisdictional policy on the states’ agenda and to see it through the policy process, but that the effectiveness of this influence depended on governors’ perceptions of credible economic incentives.
She is currently using quantitative impact evaluation methodologies to investigate the impacts of three REDD+ initiatives (two of them jurisdictional approaches) on deforestation and the wellbeing of communities in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso. She is especially interested in uncovering the role these REDD+ initiatives had in implementing the Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR), a key policy tool brought by the Forest Code.
Hesitant climate action from the Brazilian federal government has made the engagement of Brazilian states with REDD+ extremely relevant in the hopes of curbing emissions from deforestation in the Amazon. Carolina believes that a better understanding of the political dynamics and the impacts of REDD+ policies and initiatives in different states will help with the development and diffusion of better strategies to combat deforestation in the region.