Global forest loss due to land conversion for agricultural, urban, and charcoal uses is an increasing concern in developing countries. There is a clear need to address widespread deforestation due to the 1.6 billion tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere each year from these activities. Though regulation is one option for stalling deforestation, several voluntary forest governance programs have also emerged to address this issue, incorporating incentives and alternative livelihood options for local communities. Our research analyzes village level equity outcomes of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program of the United Nations and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) group certification scheme in Tanzania as examples of such programs.
Enhancing equity is an objective for REDD+ and FSC both as a goal in itself and to increase the chances of success for both programs. For the purpose of this research, we define equity as a balance between the costs and benefits of participation and involvement in decision making and governance. Through an analysis of household and group surveys conducted in three villages in Southeastern Tanzania, we conclude that the spatial organization of a village and the type of payment distribution mechanism adopted are the most significant factors influencing perceptions of equity in the implementation of either REDD+ or FSC. Therefore, we recommend that nongovernmental organizations take into better account the way in which these spatial arrangements often create pre-existing inequities in communities, and design forest governance interventions such as REDD+ or FSC accordingly in order to increase the likelihood of program success and the realization of equitable outcomes.
- Karen Azeez, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
- Meghan Cornwall, MS Envrionmental Policy and Planning/Environmental Justice
- Katie O'Gara, MS Conservation Ecology/Environmental Justice
- Brian Schapp, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
- Louis Vayo II, MA Economics/MS Environmental Policy and Planning