Man and forests


The primary objective of the project is to evaluate different management strategies to obtain reduced deforestation in tropical forests and hence maintain the various ecosystem services delivered. More specifically, the project aims at comparing a set of REDD+ pilot projects concerning the following aspects:

a) their adaption to local institutional and ecological conditions

b) the process of implementation with special focus on local participation

c) the costs of establishing and managing the projects

d) the impacts of the pilot projects on local institutions, livelihoods and forest ecosystems with special emphasis on conflicts and synergies between various uses and protection

The project also aims at discussing to what extent the chosen management strategies - their adaptation to local conditions and implementation approaches - can be seen as a) legitimate b) explain the variation in the observed impacts.

Project description

The project is focused at evaluating the (potential) success of a set of REDD+ pilot projects in Brazil, DRC, Tanzania and Uganda. REDD+ is aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation. The pilots are initiated to gain experience about how to organize REDD+ at local level to ensure reduced emissions from deforestation in the best way possible. The Norwegian government has been heavily engaged in funding such pilot projects.

REDD+ is seen as a potential triple win: Reduction of CO2 emissions, increased protection of biodiversity and enhancement of rural livelihoods/poverty alleviation. A study of REDD+ pilots needs to emphasize all these dimensions. The present project proposal ensures this by following the chosen pilots from 'start till end' using the so-called 'before-after-control-impact (BACI)' format. This is made possible through the fact that a 'before' study is already undertaken in both 'treatment' and 'control' sites as financed by other projects. The BACI format is moreover extended as we do not only look at impacts on carbon storage, biodiversity and livelihoods. We also study the process of implementation and the cost of developing and running the different management regimes.

Setting up a REDD+ pilot is foremost about changing the governance/management regime for land  including also clarification of property rights, creating systems for compensation (lost livelihoods) and for developing new livelihoods. Aimed at changed use of forest land, it therefore involves quite a profound set of institutional changes that is moreover initiated from outside. While there is potential for success, we note several challenges related to e.g., contested right, weak capacity to change institutions, conflicting interests and power asymmetries (vulnerable groups). We expect the level of (latent) conflict and the ability to find inclusive solutions to these at the local level to be important factors influencing the ability to reach the aims of REDD+.


  • Noragric
  • Fundacão Amazonas Sustentável, Brazil
  • Makerere University, Uganda
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania
  • University of Oslo, Norway
  • The Woods Hole Research Center, USA

Noragric Contact: Prof. Arild Vatn

Funded by: Norwegian Research Council

Published 11. December 2013 - 11:00 - Updated 17. January 2017 - 9:16