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Balancing Carrots and Sticks in REDD+: Implications for Social Safeguards


Duchelle, Amy E.; de Sassi, Claudio; Jagger, Pamela; Cromberg, Marina; Larson, Anne M.; Sunderlin, William D.; Resosudarmo, Ida Aju Pradnja; & Pratama, Christy Desta (2017). Balancing Carrots and Sticks in REDD+: Implications for Social Safeguards. Ecology and Society, 22(3), 2.


Reducing carbon emissions through avoided deforestation and forest degradation and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) is key to mitigating global climate change. The aim of REDD+ social safeguards is to ensure that REDD+ does not harm, and actually benefits, local people. To be eligible for results-based compensation through REDD+, countries should develop national-level safeguard information systems to monitor and report on the impacts of REDD+. Although safeguards represent a key step for promoting social responsibility in REDD+, they are challenging to operationalize and monitor. We analyzed the impacts of different types of REDD+ interventions (incentives vs. disincentives) on key safeguard-relevant indicators, i.e., tenure security, participation, and subjective well-being, as well as on reported forest clearing. We used household-level data collected in Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Vietnam from approximately 4000 households in 130 villages at two points in time (2010-2012 and 2013-2014). Our findings highlight a decrease in perceived tenure security and overall perceived well-being over time for households exposed to disincentives alone, with the addition of incentives helping to alleviate negative effects on well-being. In Brazil, although disincentives were associated with reduced reported forest clearing by smallholders, they were the intervention that most negatively affected perceived well-being, highlighting a clear trade-off between carbon and noncarbon benefits. Globally, although households exposed to REDD+ interventions were generally aware of local REDD+ initiatives, meaningful participation in initiative design and implementation lagged behind. Our analysis contributes to a relatively small literature that seeks to operationalize REDD+ social safeguards empirically and to evaluate the impacts of REDD+ interventions on local people and forests.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Ecology and Society


Duchelle, Amy E.
de Sassi, Claudio
Jagger, Pamela
Cromberg, Marina
Larson, Anne M.
Sunderlin, William D.
Resosudarmo, Ida Aju Pradnja
Pratama, Christy Desta