Missing the poorest for the trees?

REDD+ and the links between forestry, resilience and peacebuilding

Tropical deforestation contributes to approximately 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, an issue that a recent international strategy aims to counter by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, plus sustainable forest management (REDD+).

In order to do this, funds will be used to compensate developing countries for reducing deforestation as well as conserving and enhancing the capacity of their forests to store carbon – a key component of greenhouse gases. These funds could provide the opportunity to diversify livelihoods, encourage sustainable development, and enhance the adaptive capacity of local populations in the face of a changing climate. However, they could also exacerbate pre-existing conflicts over lands and resources.

In order to be both effective and equitable, REDD+ will require large areas of land with clear tenure arrangements. Yet many developing countries suffer from conflicts over land ownership and continue to exclude local communities from land use decisions. How will REDD+ impact peace and security in these countries? By looking at Brazil, Indonesia and Uganda – each with unique issues related to forests and conflict – we examine how these impacts relate to pre-existing structures of power, economy, fairness, safety and well-being.