A synthesis of the implementation ambivalence of REDD+ in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia

Divine Odame Appiah, Stephanie Esinu Adjoa Gbeddy


Reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and associated benefits (REDD+), has received much attention as one of the most controversial climate change initiatives, especially by forest fringed community actors in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Southeast Asia, (SEA) who are skeptical of the scheme.The object of this paper is to examine the seeming potential benefits and accompanying risks and challenges of REDD+ on the livelihoods among smallholder farmers in SSA and SEA. The paper espouses the sustainability context of REDD+ projects as pro-poor forest management mechanisms; through the provision of alternative livelihood. This is achieved through critical review and critique of scientific articles, project reports and relevant documents on REDD+ interventions from a worldwide, regional to local scale. The paper identifies projects that seem to solidify claims that REDD+ projects are simply a new form of colonialism; which the West is using to take advantage of vulnerable groups in the South. The paper concludes with the need to actively engage sub-Saharan African and Southeast Asian women in climate change mitigation benefit schemes on account of the expedient role women play in agricultural activities (which may involve deforestation and forest land degradation).


Community development; Community participation; Gender mainstreaming; REDD-Plus; Sub-Saharan Africa; Southeast Asia

Full Text:



Adeniji, G. (2011). Women as key players in climate adaptation. Jotoafrika, issue 6

Agrawal, B. (2001). Participatory Exclusions, Community forestry, and Gender: An Analysis for South Asia and a Conceptual framework. World development (29).10, p 1623-1630.

Agrawal, A., A. Chhatre., and Hardin, R. (2008). Changing Governance of the World’s Forests. International Forestry Resources and Institutions Program (IFRI) Working Paper #08I-4

Anaya, J. (2010). Kenya: Alleged eviction of the Ogiek Indigenous peoples from the Mau Forest Complex. Support Project for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples

Annecke, W. and Koelle, B. (2011). Including women in adaptation processes. Indigo Development and Change, jotoafrika issue 6

ASEAN Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change. (2015). Social forestry and climate change in Southeast Asia. CIFOR Research findings and goals. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

[ASFN] ASEAN Social Forestry Network. (2011). ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change. Program Document 2011–2013. Jakarta, Indonesia.

Asian Development Bank (ADB). (2010). National REDD+ Strategies in Asia and the Pacific: Progress and Challenges. Mandaluyong City, Philippines. p 1- 4.

Awono, A., Somorin, O. A., Atyi, R. E., Levang, P. (2014). Tenure and participation in local REDD+ projects: Insights from southern Cameroon. Environmental Science & Policy. (35), p 76-84

Babon, A., Mcintyre D., and Sofe, R. (2012). REDD+ politics in the media: A case study from Papua New Guinea. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Working Paper 97.

Barbier, E.B. and Tesfaw, A. T. (2012). Can REDD+ Save the forest? The Role of Payments and Tenure. Forests, 3, ISSN-1999-4907, P 882-885

Basik, N., Molnar, A. DiPaolo, J. and Qureshi, M. (2012). Leadership for Forest Management: A Summary of the Asian Experience. Rights and Resources Initiative. Jakarta, Indonesia.

Baxter, J. (2015). REDD+ to the rescue of Central Africa’s forests? Not yet, study says. CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Brockhaus, M., Luttrell, C. Wong, G. Pham, T. T. Dung, L. N. Tjajadi, J. S., Loft L. and Mvondo, S. A. (2013). Comparative Analysis of REDD+ benefit sharing mechanisms for Efficiency, Effectiveness and Equity. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Brown, H. C. P. (2011). Gender, climate change and REDD+ in the Congo Basin forests of Central Africa. International Forestry Review Vol.13 (2), p 164-166

Campese, J. (2011). Gender and REDD+ in Tanzania: An overview of key issues. Tanzania Natural Resources Forum

Chhatre, A., Lakhanpal, S. Larson, A. M. Nelson, F. Ojha, H. and Rao, J. (2012). Social safeguards and co-benefits in REDD+: a review of the adjacent possible. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Elsevier Limited, p 657

CIFOR (2012). Forests, Trees and Agroforests. A Strategy for Gender-Responsive Research and Action. Bogor: CIFOR.

Demetriades, J. and Esplen, E. (2008). The gender dimensions of poverty and climate change adaptation. IDS Bulletin 39(4): 26-31.

Djoudi, H., Brockhaus, M., Brown, H. C. P., & Bandiaky-Badji, S. (2012). Forests: gender, climate change and women's representation. CIFOR Infobrief, (48).

Dooley, K., Griffith, T., Martone, F., and Ozinga, S. (2011). Smoke and mirrors: A critical assessment of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. FERN and Forest Peoples Programme

Dooley, E., and Chapman, S. (2014). Climate-smart agriculture and REDD+ implementation in Kenya, Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (University of Cambridge)-REDD+ Law Project

Doss, C. (2014). If women hold up half the sky, how much of the world’s food do they produce? In Gender and Agriculture: Closing the Knowledge Gap, edited by A.R. Quisumbing, R. Meinzen-Dick, T. L Raney, A. Croppenstedt, J.A. Behrman, and A. Peterman. Springer, Netherlands.

FAO. (2011). Women in Agriculture: Closing the gender gap for development. In: The state of food and agriculture. FAO, Rome, Italy.

FAO. (2009). The special challenge for sub-Saharan Africa. High Level Expert Forum-How to Feed the World in 2050. Rome-Italy

FAO. (2010). Impact of the global forest industry on atmospheric greenhouse gases. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy. FAO Forestry Paper 159.

FAO and RECOFTC. (2015). Mainstreaming Gender into forest policies in Asia and the Pacific. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; The Center for People and Forests, p 3-6.

Forsell, N., Turkovska, O., Gusti, M. Obersteiner, M. Elzen, M. and Havlik, P. (2016). Carbon Balance and Management.

Funder, M., Fjalland, J., Ravnborg, H.M., and Egelyng. (2009). Low Carbon Development and Poverty Alleviation: Options for development cooperation in energy, agriculture and forestry. Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) Report: Climate Change, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Gockowski, J., Sonwa. D. (2011). Cocoa intensification scenarios and their predicted impacts on CO2 emissions, biodiversity conservation and rural livelihoods in the Guinea rainforest of West Africa. Environ Manage

Gogo, J., (2014), Zimbabwe: Outcry over Kariba REDD+ Project, No REDD in Africa Network

Gurung, J. (2011). Women’s exclusion from forestry. In IUCN Arborvitae: Attending to gender. The IUCN Forest Conservation Programme Newsletter, issue 43, p 8-9

Gurung, J., Giri K., Setyowati A. and Lebow, E. (2011). Getting REDD+ Right for women: An analysis of the barriers and opportunities for women’s participation in the REDD+ sector in Asia. USAID, Washington DC

Hall, R. (2014). The great REDD gamble: Time to ditch risky REDD for community-based approaches that are effective, ethical and equitable. Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), Amsterdam

Henshaw, K. and Fyneface, D. F. (2014). Seeing REDD: Communities, Forests and Carbon Trading in Nigeria. Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action)

Hess, J. S., (2014). Is REDD+ the right approach to reducing deforestation in tropical forest countries? Retrieved: August, 23, 2016 from https://climate-exchange.org/2014/02/02/is-redd-the-right-approach-to-reducing-deforestation-in-tropical-forest-countries-3/ .

Institute for Security Studies. (2011). Carbon trading in Africa: A critical review. Institute for Security Studies (ISS) No. 184/ ISBN- 978-1-920422-62-2, p 21

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2007a). Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, [Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K. and Reisinger, A. (Eds.)], Geneva, Switzerland.

IPACC. (2011). African Indigenous Peoples and REDD+ Human Rights, equity and forest carbon capture in climate mitigation. Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committtee (IPACC)-ISBN 978-0-9814477-4-2, p 29

IPCC. (2007b). Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K. and Reisinger, A. (Eds.) IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland

IPCC. (2014). Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change.

IUCN. (2010). Women in REDD critical for climate action. International Union for Conservation of Nature

IUCN. (2011a). IUCN Arborvitae-Forests: a legal challenge. The IUCN Forest Conservation Programme Newsletter, issue 44

IUCN. (2011b). Mainstreaming Gender Considerations in REDD-Plus Policy Implementation in Ghana. International Union for Conservation of Nature

Kanninen, M., Brockhaus, M., Murdiyarso, D. and Nabuurs G. (2010). Harnessing Forests for Climate Change Mitigation through REDD+: challenges and opportunities. Forests and society- responding to global drivers of change. Vienna, Austria, IUFRO World Series Volume 2, chapter 3, p 44-45.

Kajembe, G. C., Silayo, D. S. A., Mwakalobo, A. B. S., and Mutabazi, K. (2013). The Kilosa District REDD+ pilot project, Tanzania. A socioeconomic baseline survey. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, p 33-34

Kill, J. (2013). Carbon Discredited: Why the EU should steer clear of forest carbon offsets. FERN and Les Amis de la Terre, ISBN: 978-1-906607-30-2

Kissinger, G., Herold, M., and De Sy, V. (2012). Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation: A Synthesis Report for REDD+ Policymakers. Lexeme Consulting, Vancouver Canada

Kula, N., Haines, A., and Fryatt, R. (2013). Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for Better Evidence. PLOS Medicine. Volume 10, Issue 1,

Lang, C. (2013). Launch of No REDD in Africa Network: “REDD could cause genocide”. REDD Monitor

Lang, C. (2015). The REDD+ Mechanism will not be enough to curb deforestation in Central Africa: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), REDD Monitor

Larrazabal, A., McCall, M.K., Mwampamba, T. H. and Skutsch, M. (2012). The role of community carbon monitoring for REDD+: A review of experiences. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, p 707-716.

Larson, A. M., Brockhaus, M., Sunderlin, W. D., Duchelle, A., Babon, A., Dokken, T., Pham, T., Resosudarmo, I. A. P., Selaya, G., Awono, A., & Huynh, T. B. (2013). Land tenure and REDD+: The good, the bad and the ugly. Global Environmental Change, 23(3), 678-689.

Larson, A. M., Dokken, T., Duchelle, A. E., Atmadja, S., Resosudarmo, I. A. P., Cronkleton, P., Cromberg, M., Sunderlin, W., Awono, A. & Selaya, G. (2015). The role of women in early REDD+ implementation: lessons for future engagement. International Forestry Review, 17(1), 43-65.

Lawlor, K., Madeira, E. M., Blockhus, J., & Ganz, D. J. (2013). Community participation and benefits in REDD+: A review of initial outcomes and lessons. Forests, 4(2), 296-318.

Lee, D., Seifert-Granzin, J., Neeff, T., Göhler, D., Liss, B. M and Busch, A. (2011). Maximizing the Co-benefits of REDD-Plus Actions. Discussion paper for a Regional Expert Workshop supported by the German International Climate Initiative, September 27-29 2011, Subic, Philippines.

Leventon, J., Kalaba, F. K., Dyer, J. C., Stringer, L. C. and Dougill, A. J. (2014). Delivering community benefits through REDD+: Lessons from Joint Forest Management in Zambia. Forest Policy and Economics. p 1-2.

Livingston, G. (2015). Opinion: How Women Are Effecting Change in Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor. Ecosystem Marketplace-A Forest Trends Initiative

Lohmann, L. (2006). Carbon trading: a critical conversation on climate change, privatisation and power. Development Dialogue no 48. Uppsala: Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, p 234-238

Madeira, E. C. M. (2008). Policies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Developing Countries: An examination of the issues facing the incorporation of REDD into market-based climate policies. Resources for the future (RFF).

Madeira, E. M., Kelley, L., Blockhus, J., Ganz, D., Cortez, R., and Fishbein, G. (2012). Sharing the Benefits of REDD+-Lessons from the field. The Nature Conservancy

Metzel, R. (2015). How to translate REDD+ benefit sharing practice into policy. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Minang, P. A. (2010), Forestry and REDD in Africa, jotoafrika, issue 4.

Minang, P. A., Duguma, L. A., Bernard, F., Mertz, O., and M. Noordwij. (2013). Prospects for agroforestry in REDD+ landscapes in Africa. Elsevier Limited. 1877-3435, p 3-4

Murthy, I. K., Gupta, M., Tomar, S., Munsi, M., Tiwari, R., Hegde, G. T., and Ravindranath, N. H. (2013). Carbon Sequestration Potential of Agroforestry Systems in India. Earth Science and Climate Change- ISSN: 2157-7617

Mutabazi, K. D., George, C. K., Dos Santos, A. S., & Felister, M. M. (2014). Livelihood implications of REDD+ and costs-benefits of agricultural intensification in REDD+ pilot area of Kilosa, Tanzania. Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography, 4(2): 144.

Mwangi, E., Meinzen-Dick, R., & Sun, Y. (2011). Gender and sustainable forest management in East Africa and Latin America. Ecology and Society, 16(1): 17

Nabanoga, G., Namaalwa, J., and Ssenyonjo, E. (2012). The Ongo Community Forest REDD+ pilot Project, Uganda. A socioeconomic baseline survey. IIED, London, p 21-23

Nakhooda, S., Caravani, A., Bird, N., and Schalatek, L. (2011). Climate finance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate finance policy brief. Overseas Development Institute and Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America.

Naoto, J. (2006). International trade and terrestrial open-access renewable resources in a small open economy. Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 39, No. 3

Ndobe, S. N. (2010). REDD and Climate Change: Implications for the African Woman. Centre for Environment and Development (CED). Presentation for the REFACOF planning meeting.

Newton, P., Schaap, B., Fournier, M., Cornwall, M., Rosenbach, D. W., DeBoar, J., Whittemore, J., Stock, R., Yoders, M., Brodnig, G., Agrawal, A. (2015). Community forest management and REDD+. Forest Policy and Economics.

Nhantumbo, I. and L. Chiwona-Karltun.(2012). His REDD+, Her REDD: how integrating gender can improve readiness. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Briefing. United Kingdom. IIEC

Norton Rose. (2010). Forest carbon rights in REDD+ countries: a snapshot of Africa. Norton Rose LLP Edition No. NR9190, p 9

OECD. (2017). Building Food Security and Managing Risk in Southeast Asia. OECD Global Forum on Agriculture. OECD Publishing, Paris.

Okali, C. and Naess, L. O. (2013). Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Creating Gender-Responsive Climate Adaptation Policy. Future Agricultures Consortium, Working Paper 057

Olivier, J. G. J. (PBL), Janssens-Maenhout, G. (IES-JRC), Muntean, M., (IES-JRC) and Peters, J. A. H. W. (PBL). (2013). Trends in global CO2 emissions: 2013 Report. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Osarogiagbon, R. (2011). REDD and its implication on Community people. A presentation made at Cross River State stakeholders forum on Climate change, REDD and Forest Dependent Community Rights. Nigeria. Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FOEN).

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). (2012), Carbon trading in Africa. Climate Finance Africa Briefing Paper Series, 3. PACJA and Institute for Security Studies

Parrotta, J. A., C. Wildburger and S. Mansourian. (2012). Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives. A Global Assessment Report prepared by the Global Forest Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management, and REDD+. IUFRO World Series Volume 31, p 16, 54.

Peskett, L. (2011). Benefit sharing in REDD+: exploring the implications for poor and vulnerable people. World Bank and REDD-net. Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD)

Poffenberger, M. (2011). Women’s micro-finance and forest conservation in India. In IUCN Arborvitae: Attending to gender. The IUCN Forest Conservation Programme Newsletter, issue 43, p 11

Pokorny, B, Scholz, I., and de Jong, W. (2013). REDD+ for the poor or the poor for REDD+? About the limitations of environmental policies in the Amazon and the potential of achieving environmental goals through pro-poor policies. Ecology and Society 18(2): 3.

Population Action International. (2011). Why Population matters to Forests. Population Action International, Washington DC, USA

Population Reference Bureau (PRB). (2013). 2013 World Population Data Sheet. PRB-USAID.

Pye, O. (2012). Carbon Markets and REDD in South-East Asia: An Interview with Chris Lang from REDD Monitor. ASEAS - Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 5(2), 352-358.

Ribot, J. (2011). Seeing REDD for Local Democracy: A Call for Democracy Standards

Rietbergen-McCracken, J. (2011). EDITOR. Gender in Cancun. In IUCN Arborvitae: Attending to gender. The IUCN Forest Conservation Programme Newsletter, issue 43

Romero, M. Z., Trærup, S., Wieben, E., Møller, L. R., and Koch, A. (2013). Economics of forest and forest carbon projects- Translating lessons learned into national REDD+ implementation. UNEP Risø Centre-ISBN: 978-87-92706-66-9

Sandbrook, C., Nelson, F., Adams, W. M., and Agrawal, A. (2010). Carbon, forests and the REDD paradox. Fauna and Flora International

Scriven, J. H. N. and Malhi, Y. (2012). Smallholder REDD+ strategies at the forest-farm frontier: a comparative analysis of options from the Peruvian Amazon. Carbon Management 3 (3), future science group, p 265

Setyowati, A. (2012). Ensuring that women benefit from REDD+. Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), Unasylva 239, Vol. 63

Shames, J. (2013). How can small-scale farmers benefit from carbon markets? CCAFS Policy Brief no. 8. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark

Shanahan, M., Shubert, W., Scherer, C., Corcoran. T. (2013). Climate Change in Africa: A Guidebook for Journalists. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Series on Journalism Education, France

Sills, E. O., Atmadja, S. S., de Sassi, C., Duchelle, A. E., Kweka, D. L., Resosudarmo, I. A. P., & Sunderlin, W. D. (Eds.). (2014). REDD+ on the ground: A case book of subnational initiatives across the globe. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR. https://www.cifor.org/library/5202/redd-on-the-ground-a-case-book-of-subnational-initiatives-across-the-globe/

Smith, H. (2011). REDD+ in East Africa: The gender dimension of the Readiness Plans in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. University of California, San Diego

Spratt, S. (2016). Forest taxation and REDD+. Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. ICTD Annual Meeting, 10-13 February 2016. Addis Ababa.

Streck, C. (2010). An African Agricultural Carbon Facility, Ford Foundation

The Forests Dialogue (TFD). (2008). Beyond REDD: The Role of Forests in Climate Change. The Forests Dialogue, USA

UNDP. (1995). Human Development Report, 1995. New York, USA

UNFCCC. (2007a). Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaptation in Developing Countries. Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), Bonn, Germany

UNFCCC. (2007b). Investment and Financial Flows to Address Climate Change. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Bonn, Germany.

UNFCCC, (2010). Decision 1/CP.16 The Cancun Agreements: Outcome of the Work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Co-operative Action under the Convention. In: UNFCCC (Ed.), (UNFCCC/CP/2010/7).

UN-REDD. (2013). Guidance Note on Gender Sensitive REDD+. United Nations REDD Programme

UN-REDD. (2016). UN-REDD Programme. Retrieved: July, 14, 2016 from: http://www.un-redd.org/

UN WomenWatch. (2009). Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change. Retrieved: September, 6, 2016 from http://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/climate_change/.

USAID. (2017). Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Indonesia. United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Virgilio, N. and Marshall, S. (2009). Forest Carbon Strategies in Climate Change Mitigation: Confronting Challenges Through On-the- Ground Experience. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, Virginia.

Virgilio, N. R., Marshall, S., Zerbock, O., and Holmes, C. (2010). Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD): A Casebook of On-the-Ground Experience. The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and Wildlife Conservation Society. Arlington, Virginia.

Wambugu, S. W. Chomba, S. W. and Atela, J. (2015). Institutional arrangements for climate-smart landscapes. In Minang, P. A., van Noordwijk, M., Freeman, O. E., Mbow, C., de Leeuw, J., & Catacutan, D. (Eds.) Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multi-functionality in Practice, 257-273. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Wertz-Kanounniko¬, S. and Kongphan-Apirak, M.(2008). Reducing forest emissions in Southeast Asia: A review of drivers of land-use change and how payments for environmental services (PES) schemes can affect them. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Working Paper No. 41 p 5-6, 13.

WFSE-IUFRO. (2009). Making Sub-Saharan African Forests Work for People and Nature: Policy approaches in a changing global environment. Special Project on World Forests, Society and Environment (WFSE) of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

WOCAN. (2011). Getting REDD+ Right for Women: An analysis of the barriers and opportunities for women’s participation in the REDD+ sector in Asia. Prepared by Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN) and the United States Forest Service and produced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), p 19.

WOCAN, UN-REDD and USAID. (2013). Women’s Inclusion in REDD+ in Cambodia: Lessons from Good Practices in Forest, Agriculture and Other Natural Resources Management Sectors. Joint Regional Initiative for Women’s Inclusion in REDD+. Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

World Bank Africa. (2017). Forests in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. PROFOR Innovation and Action for Forests. World Bank Africa Region.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24259/fs.v2i1.2918


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Forest and Society is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

View My Stats

Forest and Society has been indexed/registered/mentioned in : 


View full indexing services