Deforestation and degradation account for around 20% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, widely believed to drive climate change. Growing concerns about the impacts of climate change have fuelled international interest in developing mechanisms to slow deforestation and degradation rates. Most proposals for such mechanisms to ‘Reduce Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation’ (REDD) are still on the drawing board but they are all based on the idea that developed countries would pay developing countries to reduce rates of deforestation or degradation by implementing a range of policies and projects. By linking these payments to carbon markets (i.e. putting a value on the carbon emissions that are avoided), large sums of money could flow to developing countries. With some estimates exceeding $30 billion per year, these could dwarf existing aid flows to the forest sector in developing countries. The potential contribution to rural poverty reduction could be immense, but REDD mechanisms may also entail new risks. This paper presents a framework for understanding the linkages between REDD and poverty, and conducts an initial analysis of the poverty implications of REDD.
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