Get the CIFOR publications update

CIFOR publishes over 400 publications every year on forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy, agroforestry and much more in multiple languages.

Messiness of forest governance: How technical approaches suppress politics in REDD+ and conservation projects

Messiness of forest governance: How technical approaches suppress politics in REDD+ and conservation projects

Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) was originally conceived to address the global problem of climate change by reducing deforestation and forest degradation at national and subnational levels in developing countries. Since its inception, REDD+ proponents have increasingly had to adapt global ideas to local demands, as the rollout process was met with on-the-ground realities, including suspicion and protest. As is typical in aid or ‘development’ projects conceived in the global North, most of the solutions advanced to improve REDD+ tend to focus on addressing issues of justice (or ‘fairness’) in distributive terms, rather than addressing more inherently political objections to REDD+ such as those based on rights or social justice. Using data collected from over 700 interviews in five countries with both REDD+ and non-REDD+ cases, we argue that the failure to incorporate political notions of justice into conservation projects such as REDD+ results in ‘messiness’ within governance systems, which is a symptom of injustice and illegitimacy. We find that, first, conservation, payment for ecosystem services, and REDD+ project proponents viewed problems through a technical rather than political lens, leading to solutions that focused on procedures, such as ‘benefit distribution.’ Second, focusing on the technical aspects of interventions came at the expense of political solutions such as the representation of local people’s concerns and recognition of their rights. Third, the lack of attention to representation and recognition justices resulted in illegitimacy. This led to messiness in the governance systems, which was often addressed in technical terms, thereby perpetuating the problem. If messiness is not appreciated and addressed from appropriate notions of justice, projects such as REDD+ are destined to fail.

Authors: Myers, R.; Larson, A.M.; Ravikumar, A.; Kowler, L.F.; Yang, A.L.; Trench, T.

Topic: conservation, forest management, climate change, environmental legislation

Publication Year: 2018

ISSN: 0959-3780

Source: Global Environmental Change 50: 314-324

DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.02.015


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Altmetric score:

Download Option:

Export Citation

Related viewing

Top

CIFOR website usability survey

We're conducting research on our website and we'd love to hear from you about your experience on cifor.org. This will help us make improvements and prioritize new features. The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email us: cifor@cgiar.org

We really appreciate your input!

Start survey
I don’t want to participate
Remind me later