Improving REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Programs
Kelly, Allison Constance
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Through an interdisciplinary set of studies, this dissertation seeks to contribute to the understanding of how REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs can better contribute to the improved human well-being, increased forest conservation, and reduced carbon emissions they seek to affect. To this end, I present three distinct papers that analyze elements of REDD+ programs. In Chapter 2, I use primary data collected through a survey of national REDD+ experts in 30 countries and secondary data aggregated from REDD+ forum websites, to study the patterns of national REDD+ policy diffusion. It is important to discern the mechanism of diffusion because if policies are being adopted after careful consideration of their successes in other locations and of how they might affect local contexts (learning), they are more likely to be successful in the long-term than if they are adopted purely to remain competitive for funding or to maintain a similar policy to peer-countries. I find evidence that the mechanism of diffusion at work is learning. In Chapter 3, I develop a unique index of the governance context for land tenure security (GC-LTS) at the national scale and use geographic information systems to map this data globally. The GC-LTS index allows policy- and decision-makers to explicitly, quantitatively and spatially incorporate land tenure security considerations into evidence-based planning and analyses that previously could not account for elements of land tenure security. In Chapter 4, working at the local scale in central Mexico, I develop novel qualitative findings regarding local forest resource institutions as they relate to payments for ecosystem services (PES) projects and the project intermediaries who support their adoption. Using grounded-theory and a series of in-depth interviews, I work to develop testable hypotheses about the role of intermediaries in project implementation. This paper highlights the dynamic role that project intermediaries are playing in bolstering forest-resource institutions and providing accessible information to potential PES-project participants, as well as the potential for participants to learn through projects about the breadth of ecosystem services their forests provide.