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From Carbon Projects to Better Land-Use Planning: Three Latin American Initiatives

Laura M. Rival, Department of International Development, University of Oxford, United Kingdom


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I start with a discussion of the limits of the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and cobenefits (REDD+) program and the need to embed forest carbon within integrated ecosystem services on a landscape scale. By comparing a REDD+ project with two non-REDD+ projects, I show that there are diverse ways of applying the Earth system governance lens to address the continuing deterioration of goods and services provided by ecological systems. I then compare the valuation of ecosystem services and the governance of their provision in the three projects under review: Bolsa Floresta in the state of Amazonas, Brazil; Araçuaí Sustentável in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil; and the Yasuní–Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini Initiative in Ecuador. I show how each project has given birth to innovative mixed policies based on citizen mobilization. These dynamic hybrid policies are uniquely fitted to the particular ecological, historical, sociocultural, and political contexts in which they took root, contexts they help to transform. I conclude that result-based payment systems such as those envisaged for REDD+ have the potential to increase the production of additional carbon absorption capacity. However, they are not always appropriate or cost effective, nor do they substitute for command-and-control instruments, or for popular mobilization.

Key words

Araçuaí Sustentável; Bolsa Floresta; Earth governance; landscapes under ecosystem-based management; payments for ecosystem services; REDD+ schemes; Yasuní–Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini Initiative

Copyright © 2013 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087