Designing and implementing effective REDD+ policies: a forest transition approach

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Effective policies to halt deforestation depend critically on the forest context. This article uses a forest transition framework to discuss three forest contexts: remote (core) forest areas, frontier forests, and forest-agriculture mosaics. Just as the drivers and capabilities differ across these three contexts or stages, so too do the appropriate government policies. The first stage represents forests that are protected passively by their remote location, where the challenge is to maintain low deforestation rates. Thus high priority should be given to avoiding or redesigning infrastructure developments, resettlements, and other large-scale projects that can accelerate deforestation. Clarifying tenure and local forest rights and creating protected areas can also be helpful. In frontier forests, well-defined property rights, if present, provide a basis for using direct incentive and compensation schemes such as payments for environmental services. Avoiding perverse government policies, such as subsidized credit for deforesting activities, would also reduce the high deforestation rates that characterize this second stage. In largely settled forest-agriculture mosaics, government policies can augment emerging market-based incentives to plant trees. Improved agricultural technologies, which at early stages tend to stimulate agricultural land expansion, can also be important at later stages by increasing food production on existing agricultural land

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