Institutional Determinants of Success Among Forestry-Based Carbon Sequestration Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa
This paper contributes to the debate on the economic and social implications of carbon forestry through the study of 42 programs in Africa using carbon offset payments to fund tree-planting activities. Such projects may be understood as multi-layered collective action problems: growing trees for carbon offsets requires not only international financial incentives to plant trees, but also local institutions to monitor, impose sanctions, and distribute benefits. Consistent with economic theories, large projects appear to realize economies of scale. Contrary to expectations, community-based projects on lower-quality sites often successfully generate and sell offsets, while private for-profit initiatives appear susceptible to collapse.