CGIAR Conference Debates Latest Research on REDD+ and Sustainable Development

September 2011: The Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security Program (CCAFS) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) held a conference at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC, US, on 26 August 2011, to examine issues related to understanding the relationships between carbon emissions and rural livelihoods.

The conference focused on papers prepared by leading international researchers. In "The viability of cattle ranching intensification in Brazil as a strategy to spare land and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions," the authors rely on a literature review to explore cattle ranching intensification programs (CRIPs). The authors note that support for CRIPs is based on the premises that, inter alia: accelerating intensification is straightforward; pasturelands have potential for alternative uses; reducing extensive cattle ranching will have effects on deforestation rates; and the mitigation benefits of CRIPs outweigh the marginal costs. The authors examine each of these premises  and evaluate them against approaches to improve the viability of CRIPs.

In "REDD+ sticks and carrots in the Brazilian Amazon," the authors explore a conceptual framework for analyzing the role of regulatory enforcement of REDD+ in the Brazilian Amazon. The study examines the costs of liability establishment and legal coercion to address REDD+ goals, as well as local welfare impacts. The finding highlight the importance of spatial patterns of deforestation on enforcement strategies, noting that command and control approaches are the most cost-effective instruments, but that it could cost land owners significantly. The paper highlights that on-the-ground work will be required to make REDD+ activities both financially viable and socially compatible.

In "Overcoming tenurial constraints to carbon forestry projects in Africa," the authors note that land owners with customary land tenure (but no land title) can provide environmental services, particularly if planting trees helps to secure permanent claim to land. The paper stresses that lack of title does not on its own have to preclude participation in carbon forestry and other payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes.

In "Swidden, Rubber and Carbon: Can REDD+ work for people and the environment in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia," the authors suggest that in some case swidden agriculture may be carbon neutral or even carbon positive. The paper compares swidden agriculture to rubber cultivation and calls for a deeper analysis of consequences of government polices on carbon emissions.

In "Does secure land tenure save forests? A review of the relationship between land tenure and tropical deforestation," the authors review literature that connects forest outcomes and land tenure to better understand the relationship between land tenure form, land tenure security and forest outcomes. The authors find that less deforestation is associated with greater land tenure security, regardless of the form of tenure and that state-owned protected forests are associated with more positive forest outcomes relative to private, communal and public lands. They discuss issues in the consistency of current literature and provide suggestions for future studies. [CCAFS Meeting Page][CCAFS Publication: REDD sticks and carrots in the Brazilian Amazon: Assessing the costs and livelihood implications][CCAFS Publication: The viability of cattle ranching intensification in Brazil as a strategy to spare land and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions][CCAFS Publication: Overcoming tenurial constraints to carbon forestry projects in Africa][CCAFS Publication: Swidden, rubber and carbon][CCAFS Publication: Does secure land tenure save forests?]