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Abstract

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), an emerging international climate change mitigation mechanism, would compensate developing countries with threatened forests for their conservation and reforestation efforts. The implications of this new scheme for governments, forests, communities and their development are still unclear. The preparation for REDD that is taking place in many countries includes little concern for this mechanism’s potential impacts on the rights and livelihoods of forest-dependent communities who have yet to be consulted. This paper analyzes both precedents and the current process of REDD readiness in Nepal, revealing discrepancies in forest governance that must be addressed before this carbon trading mechanism can successfully meet climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, or development goals. This paper finds that REDD readiness and policy formulation is being driven from the top down, with insufficient involvement and influence by local communities in planning and decision-making processes, and that a more adaptive, bottom-up approach is needed if REDD is to be economically beneficial, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable in the long term.

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