Deforestation and forest degradation are the second leading cause of global warming, responsible for about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. New proposals to use international financial mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) have radical implications for the ways in which tropical forests are valued internationally. These, in turn, entail significant social risks and opportunities, particularly for indigenous peoples and forest-dependent local communities.
In the context of a developing carbon market, equitable outcomes will partly depend on the authority to manage and trade emission reductions. Property rights to carbon are complex and contested, but are an essential ingredient for effective carbon markets.
REDD+ is potentially a significant source of monetary benefits or revenues for tropical forest countries. How such benefits should be shared nationally between different stakeholders is a central pillar in achieving effective and equitable REDD+ regimes.
A number of countries have made efforts to reconcile goals of sustainable natural resources management and poverty alleviation. One of these countries is Tanzania, where community forestry offers significant insights for the design and implementation of REDD+ initiatives.