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How is global climate policy interpreted on the ground? Insights from the analysis of local discourses about forest management and REDD+ in Indonesia

Sarah Milne, Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Mary Milne, Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Fitri Nurfatriani, Research and Development Centre of Social Economic Policy and Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Indonesia
Luca Tacconi, Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08363-210206

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Abstract

The implementation of “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (REDD+) will inevitably be affected by local social and political dynamics, with the potential for success depending significantly on cooperation from a range of stakeholders at the subnational level. Building on recent critical research on REDD+, we look at how global policy is interpreted locally by actors who are likely to be involved in REDD+ implementation. We do this by examining local stakeholder perceptions of REDD+ and forest management in two contrasting provinces of Indonesia, Riau and Papua, where deforestation rates are high and low, respectively. Using data collected from stakeholder workshops, we conduct a discourse analysis that reveals how subnational actors perceive and position themselves around REDD+ and forest governance. The results reveal six discourses common to both case-study provinces, which variously conflict and converge as they are employed by different actors. Seen together, these discourses provide critical insights into the subnational policy environment, which is largely a product of Indonesia’s underlying land and forest politics, and they indicate in turn how REDD+ in practice is likely to be interpreted and reconstituted at the local level. A key finding is that local discourses can be grouped around two divergent positions on REDD+: one that supports forest exploitation and sees limited prospects in forest carbon, and one that embraces sustainable forest management and expresses conditional support for REDD+ subject to benefit-sharing and property arrangements. REDD+ practitioners will therefore need to craft policies and project processes that account for these discursive dynamics.

Key words

deforestation; discourse; environmental politics; Indonesia; REDD+

Copyright © 2016 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.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087