REDD+ and Rural Livelihoods
Focusing on incentive schemes that induce participation in land-use activities to supply environmental services, this paper examines the potential impacts of REDD+ on livelihoods, in particular with respect to incomes and poverty alleviation. Two case studies, each at a different scale, are presented. First, the N’hambita Community Carbon Project in Mozambique, a REDD+ project, promoted agro-forestry and reforestation activities along with alternative livelihoods. Second, the Sloping Lands Conversion Programme (SLCP) in China is a national-level reforestation scheme to supply watershed services. Impacts on the poor are addressed through the ‘lens’ of a rural household allocating its labour supply to different income sources. Four aspects of REDD+ policy are discussed: the incentives necessary for ensuring the cost-effective, long-run sustainability of both carbon sinks and incomes; the implications for forest conservation, in particular biodiversity; the need for scaling up carbon sequestration activities in order to minimise carbon leakage; and, the possibilities to maximise the participation of the poor and alleviate poverty. Finally, the paper highlights the importance of using appropriate methodologies for correct evaluation of policy impacts on incomes.