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Can REDD+ Reconcile Local Priorities and Needs with Global Mitigation Benefits? Lessons from Angai Forest, Tanzania

Irmeli Mustalahti, Development Studies, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland
Anna Bolin, Independent Research Consultant, UK
Emily Boyd, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Whiteknights University of Reading, UK
Jouni Paavola, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-04498-170116

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Abstract

The scope of the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) mechanism has broadened REDD+ to accommodate different country interests such as natural forests, protected areas, as well as forests under community-based management. In Tanzania the REDD+ mechanism is still under development and pilot projects are at an early stage. In this paper, we seek to understand how local priorities and needs could be met in REDD+ implementation and how these expectations match with global mitigation benefits. We examine the local priorities and needs in the use of land and forest resources in the Angai Villages Land Forest Reserve (AVLFR) in the Liwale District of Lindi Region in Tanzania. Primary data was collected in two villages, Mihumo and Lilombe, using semistructured key informant interviews and participatory rural appraisal methods. In addition, the key informant interviews were conducted with other village, district, and national level actors, as well as international donors. Findings show that in the two communities REDD+ is seen as something new and is generating new expectations among communities. However, the Angai villagers highlight three key priorities that have yet to be integrated into the design of REDD+: water scarcity, rural development, and food security. At the local level improved forest governance and sustainable management of forest resources have been identified as one way to achieve livelihood diversification. Although the national goals of REDD+ include poverty reduction, these goals are not necessarily conducive to the goals of these communities. There exist both structural and cultural limits to the ability of the Angai villages to implement these goals and to improve forestry governance. Given the vulnerability to current and future climate variability and change it will be important to consider how the AVLFR will be managed and for whose benefit?

Key words

Participatory Forest Management (PFM); pro-poor REDD+; REDD+; Tanzania
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087