REDD+ and Forest Carbon Rights in Fiji Background Legal Analysis
The purpose of this Discussion Paper on forest carbon rights in Fiji is to describe the relevance of carbon rights for REDD+ and to identify the options for the ownership of forest carbon rights. Under the legal system prevailing in Fiji, the landowner owns the forest on his land, whether it is in his possession or leased and in consequence, would own forest carbon rights in relation to that forest. In the case of forest planted with the consent of the landowner (plantations), ownership of the trees resides in the lessee during the term of the lease, but unless negotiated as part of the lease agreement, the lessee cannot assume to have the benefit of the forest carbon rights.
Fiji has to make a policy decision on the way ahead for carbon rights to proceed with the REDD-Plus policy. The choices are between the various options for ownership of carbon rights. This paper outlines the current legal frameworks in Fiji related to forest tenure and property rights and provides a legal analysis of what the various options are for establishing ownership of carbon rights in Fiji.