SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • forest governance;
  • REDD;
  • carbon markets;
  • indigenous;
  • rural poor;
  • agroforestry

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) has been given a principal role in post-Kyoto, climate change agreements. Resulting markets and mechanisms for carbon forestry offsets could generate considerable global revenues for both forest conservation and sustainable rural development; or they may impose political and economic pressures on forest governance that threaten indigenous and rural peoples’ rights. Some inherent challenges to developing carbon forestry projects that support rural peoples’ welfare are reviewed. The experience of Scolel Te’, a carbon forestry project for Mexican indigenous farmers, suggests how projects can be adapted for smallholder provision of carbon services on benign terms and still meet the demands of carbon markets. However, carbon sales alone have not supported investments in knowledge development, institutional learning, and strategic farmer participation needed for significant political or economic change. This supports critiques that policies based on economic valuations of environmental services are unlikely to support social and equity objectives.


Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography

The world's forests are continually in the cross-hairs of competing interests and changing policies that rarely seem to resolve to any of the parties’ full satisfaction. Forests serve, to varying degrees, as sites of commercially extractable resources; sustenance and identity for indigenous and other rural people; and de facto or official alternatives to land reform. They are zones of geopolitical strategic importance; refuge for the marginalized, the illicit, and the subversive; and some of the last bastions of ecosystems critical to global biological and geophysical processes.

Often, the tugs-of-war around forests have resulted in violence, coercion, and displacement of people or livelihoods. Unfortunately, the plans, policy frameworks, and laws that govern forests have often lived a more vigorous life on paper than they have in the field, at worst exacerbating conflicts of interests, at best allowing some degree of business-as-usual to be carried out on the ground, to the detriments of forests, forest-dependent people, biodiversity, and ecosystems.

Since the latter half of the twentieth century, the rights of indigenous, natural resource-dependent, and other marginalized groups have increasingly been recognized in international agreements and national laws, and incorporated into the operations of multilateral development banks (Alcorn 2010; World Bank 2005) and donor organizations.1 Recognition of the intertwined fates of forests (and other ecosystems) and the people who live in and around them has become almost canon in environmental and development policy, and has been one of the forces leading toward more decentralized, adaptive, and community-based forms of forest management within a framework of overarching conservation and sustainable development goals (Agrawal et al. 2008).

Nevertheless, through all the permutations of conservation paradigms that have influenced forest and environmental governance during recent decades, indigenous, rural, and other marginalized, resource-dependent people have too often found themselves the recipients and objects of policy, rather than seated at the table that defines it. In the state of Chiapas, Mexico, for instance, Maya communities living in the Lacandon rain forest region have experienced, within the space of a single generation, a version of virtually every conservation and development paradigm that has come down the pike from “above” and “outside.” This has almost always come at the risk of some threat to livelihood, community, identity, or political determination, and has rarely resulted in enduring material or political benefit (Paladino 2005).

Maya reactions to these successive paradigms or models have spanned the spectrum from a relatively apolitical, tolerant opportunism to outright rejection and political resistance. At the former end of the spectrum, communities have adapted each time to the latest vocabularies, concepts, and institutional formats that appear, sometimes concurrently and in competition with each other, while looking for ways to insert their own language and interests onto the agenda (Paladino 2005). At the other end of the spectrum, more politicized Maya have rejected policies that they see as, at best, maintaining indigenous communities in a marginalized status, and at worst, literally dispossessing them of home, livelihood, community, identity, and basic human rights.2

Now, an emerging environmental governance paradigm is poised to become another significant factor in how the constellations of rights, benefits, and responsibilities are arrayed around forests and other lands important to rural and indigenous people. In this article, I look at a prominent approach to climate change mitigation, a variant of payment for environmental services (PES), in which emitters of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, compensate for their emissions by financing the establishment or preservation of vegetative cover that removes carbon from the air and stores it in above- and below-ground biomass. Under varying voluntary (e.g., Chicago Climate Exchange) or compliance (e.g., European Union Emissions Trading Scheme) arrangements, credits for the amount of carbon stored can then be counted toward the emissions reductions goals of individuals, businesses, organizations, and nations. With the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) positioning of carbon forestry as one of its central climate mitigation tools (UNFCCC 2010), a substantial amount of political, institutional, economic, and technical weight has been thrown behind the implementation of this paradigm in some form worldwide. This, in turn, offers to lay yet another set of expectations, economic valuations, and pressures over those already playing out in forest and rural landscapes. I briefly summarize some key concerns that have arisen about the implications of this paradigm for indigenous and poor, rural people, particularly in reference to the UNFCCC strategy, although they apply to other variants of the payment for carbon capture model. Based on field research conducted in 2007 through 2009, I then take the example of a carbon forestry and agroforestry project in Chiapas, Mexico that was explicitly designed to be pro-poor and supportive of rural, sustainable development, and use it to make observations about the challenges to “social” or pro-poor carbon projects.

Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography

Forests are estimated to capture and store over 75 percent of the world's above- and below-ground carbon dioxide (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] 2007). At the same time, deforestation and degradation of standing forests is estimated to be responsible for up to 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2007). Despite this critical role of forests in mitigating global climate change, earlier post-Kyoto, global climate negotiations through the UNFCCC found it problematic to allow the conservation of existing forest carbon stocks to be counted against emissions reductions targets, in large part due to the question of “additionality,” as the aim is to increase the net amount of global carbon stocks over what would have existed without intervention. The only carbon forestry activities supported were those involving afforestation and reforestation (A/R) through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (Bamsley 2009).

Nevertheless, the importance of reducing emissions derived from deforestation and forest degradation, commonly referred to by the acronym REDD, remained part of the UNFCCC deliberative process, in part pushed by nations for whom these activities form the principal sources of carbon emissions and offer the greatest potential for participation in carbon offsets. By December 2010, at the 16th Conference of the Parties meeting in Cancun, Mexico, what is now being called REDD+ was accepted as a central part of the global climate change framework to be established in 2012. A “plus” added to the REDD acronym indicates that activities that improve and expand existing forest carbon stocks, including sustainable forestry, could also be included in the strategy (UNFCCC 2010). In addition, the acronym “REDD++” has arisen as a way of expanding the focus beyond just forests to include agricultural and pastoral practices, such as agroforestry, that add and store significant above- and below-ground carbon storage capacity.

Thus, the preservation and expansion of existing forest carbon stocks has been given a central place in global climate policy as one of the principal strategies for reducing atmospheric carbon. As Angelsen and Atmadja (2008:1) note, REDD is:

commonly seen as a significant, quick and win-win way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; significant because one-fifth of global GHG emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation (DD); cheap because much of the DD is only marginally profitable, so, reducing GHG emissions from forests would be cheaper than most other mitigation measures; quick because large reductions in GHG emissions can be achieved with “stroke of the pen” reforms and other measures not dependent on technological innovations; and win-win because the potentially large financial transfers and better governance can benefit the poor in developing countries and provide other environmental gains on top of environmental benefits.

The promise of “co-benefits,” that is, that not only carbon storage, but additional environmental, social, and economic objectives could be achieved through carbon forestry and with the carbon financing generated, is both one of the more potentially positive and more controversial aspects of this approach. From a more positive perspective are hopes that carbon projects and carbon revenues, if handled properly, could both directly and indirectly strengthen the rights and welfare of forest-dependent people. In theory, carbon revenues could help support the owners and users of forests—indigenous and other rural people—in such things as improving capacity to monitor, manage, and protect forests, in improving sustainable, forest-based livelihoods, or in developing economic options beyond forests (Brown et al. 2008; Fincke 2010; Sommerville 2011).

Indirectly, if nations undertake the kinds of “readiness” activities encouraged as preparation for REDD+ projects, they could clarify and resolve outstanding tenure issues of rural people and reform policies and laws that present obstacles to their participation in forest-conserving and other sustainable livelihood activities. Additionally, they could invest in processes of capacity-building and inclusive decision-making that bring rural people into more strategic REDD+, and ultimately, other governance roles (Schwarte and Mohammed 2011; Sommerville 2011). To the extent that carbon projects help keep forest and other ecosystems intact, they may also serve to preserve biodiversity and other environmental services (such as water and nutrient cycling, flood and soil erosion prevention, etc.) that can affect the welfare of rural people (Bamsley 2009).

From more critical perspectives, however, the discussions around REDD+ raise red flags about the potential risks to the rural poor and indigenous. Most of these derive from the political and material realities of these populations, and how these position them in relation to the technical, financial, administrative, and political terrain of carbon forestry as it is being carved out in this context. Many of the points of tension revolve around the following elements considered necessary for land use-based carbon projects, not just those that are forestry-based (Bass et al. 2000; Jindal et al. 2008; Perez et al. 2007; Tschakert 2007):

  • carbon permanence, that is, pressures to assure that the carbon stocks and emission reductions financed, created, or protected are enduring;
  • carbon cost efficiency, that is, pressures to achieve the most carbon storage or emissions reduction for the price;
  • carbon financing, that is, where it comes from, how it is structured and administered, how carbon value is assigned; and
  • complex technical and administrative systems for calculating carbon baselines and additionality, and for carbon accounting across time and multiple political scales.

In broad strokes, the need for carbon permanence creates a point of tension with indigenous and rural peoples’ often complex, insecure, informal, conflicting, and invisible (to the state) rights to carbon-providing lands and resources. This, in turn, can interfere with their ability to benefit as providers of carbon services, as well as make it easier for more powerful interests, including the state, elites, investors, or other rural people with secure tenure, to displace them. In the context of international REDD+ discussions, tenure issues are acknowledged as critical to the protection of rural and indigenous people's rights, as well as to the creation of a secure carbon investment climate (Schwarte and Mohammed 2011; UN-REDD 2010; Diaz et al. 2011; Alcorn 2010). Among the red flags raised are that nations may not have either the resources or the political will to undertake careful processes of tenure reform or alternatively, that in the rush to receive REDD+ funds, they will do an inadequate job that fails to protect, or worse, strips indigenous and rural people's of their rights (Bamsley 2009; Sommerville 2011).

It is precisely a key concern of indigenous and small farmer advocacy organizations that the REDD+ framework offers a too effective vehicle for state, multilateral, conservation, or corporate interests to co-opt and displace indigenous and rural people's rights to land and natural resources.3 Precedents for actual or potential disruption of rights related to carbon projects already exist, reinforcing the seriousness of these concerns. Examples include a project in Ecuador, where liens placed on land titles as protections against carbon default put participants at risk of losing their land (Wunder and Alban 2008); and a start-up REDD++ project in the Comunidad Lacandona, Chiapas, Mexico, where only formal rights holders in the indigenous, common property territory are receiving carbon payments for communal forest, while probably two-thirds of the total adult population is excluded (Teratol, Comunidad Lacandona resident, pers. comm., 2011).

Another point of tension with carbon permanence is that poor rural people often need to manage land to meet multiple and changing objectives (e.g., social obligations, subsistence, cash income), manage risks, and adapt land management regimes as opportunities or needs (e.g., crop failures, market changes, health crises) arise. Carbon projects that restrict or remove this adaptability could put rural people at risk, particularly if carbon cash flows are insufficient to replace other livelihoods.

Pressures to achieve carbon cost-efficiency tend to mitigate for choosing larger units of land managed primarily or exclusively for carbon, in contrast with the multiple-objective management styles of the rural poor. Negotiating projects with many smallholders, with populations that speak different languages and have low levels of formal education, little institutional capacity or weak group representation, and are experiencing political instability or have dispersed, difficult-to-access land units increases what are called the transaction costs of carbon projects4 (Bass et al. 2000; Jindal et al. 2008; Tschakert 2007). REDD+ country plans being developed include provisions for ensuring stakeholder participation and capacity-building (UNFCCC 2010) but how this is done, how early or late in the REDD+ design process it occurs, and whether the costs of these activities can be covered by funds external to carbon projects (such as the REDD+ “readiness” funds) or must be subsumed by the carbon projects themselves will likely affect the willingness of national governments, investors, and financers to develop projects with these populations. Transaction costs, if deducted from carbon prices could also diminish the amount of carbon revenue that ultimately reaches rural carbon service providers.

How REDD+ carbon projects will be financed, for example, whether from private or public sector sources, carbon markets or dedicated funds, internal country or external funds, is uncertain and will likely involve a mixture of sources and types probably tailored to each country's situation (Dutschke et al. 2008). How carbon financing ends up being structured will affect its volatility, volume, longevity, and the political commitments behind it. Different structures will involve the insertion of different arrays of financial instruments and actors that can include governments, multilateral agencies, donors, lenders, brokers, speculators, resellers, and regulators, each with their own sets of interests, incentives, and respective impacts on and subtractions from carbon revenues and prices (Brown et al. 2008; Diaz et al. 2011; McAffee in review). These factors will likely influence whether the funds generated are sufficient to cover the higher transaction costs of working with the rural poor, and raise questions about the poor's ability to influence the terms of carbon trade involved and the formulas used for assigning value to carbon. Extending McAfee's (in review) metaphor that carbon has been presented as the latest “miracle tropical crop” to raise up the poor, the poor are likely to face the same challenges to inserting themselves into the carbon commodity chain on favorable terms as they have with any other commodity to date.

The technical requirements of land use-based, carbon mitigation include methodologies for establishing the baselines from which emission reductions and carbon stock additions are calculated, as well as for estimating the amount of carbon stored in different types of vegetation cover and land uses. These calculations can be very site-specific and are affected by factors such as soil, climate, species, and plant density (Montoya et al. 1995), although efforts are underway to develop more generalized and less costly ways to accomplish this. Carbon projects also require transparent, enduring, and credible systems for carbon accounting, that is, monitoring carbon stocks, tracking them, and verifying them across the lifetime of projects. Such systems need to tie each carbon purchase by a specific actor to the actual amounts of carbon storage in specific units of land by specific land managers. They also need to have mechanisms for how to respond to failures to deliver carbon quantities that have been purchased. Within the UNFCCC REDD+ process, fundamental questions about where carbon accounting responsibilities should fall, at the level of nation or individual project, and how baselines should be calculated are still being worked out (Angelsen and Atmadja 2008). How this gets resolved will likely create other pressures on the carbon and financial performance of projects, and could result in prioritizing projects that are more carbon cost-efficient over projects that are more conducive to rural people's participation. How much importance will be given to rural people's interests in the technical and administrative aspects, and will funds be dedicated to support their ability to participate?

Sommerville (2011) points out that, currently, country proposals for equity-oriented reforms and social safeguards tend to be very output-focused, with little specification of the processes for actually achieving them. The “architecture,” as it is referred to in the literature, of a global scale REDD+ regime is still very much under deliberation, with many fundamental questions remaining to be resolved (Angelsen and Atmadja 2008). One of the controversial lines of debate has, in fact, centered on whether the explicit inclusion of “co-benefits” and social safeguard provisions such as “free, prior, and informed consent” for indigenous people (as specified in the United Nations Delaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP) would interfere with or strengthen the achievement of basic carbon mitigation objectives (Sommerville 2011; UN-REDD Programme 2010). The COP-16 meetings in 2010 adopted language that referenced the UNDRIP but established only a need for “full and effective participation” (UNFCCC 2010).

In summary, it seems clear that there are many potential fault lines in the promise of the UNFCCC REDD+ framework to deliver on “co-benefits” of social equity and sustainable development. To overcome these fault lines will require the political will to invest resources in field-leveling actions that support rural and indigenous people's full participation, as well as in policy and institutional reforms, such as tenure, to safeguard their rights. Such undertakings could put additional pressures on carbon finance streams or require additional financing from other sources. It also involves making difficult decisions on how to balance the possibility of making faster advances toward carbon mitigation goals against the slower work of building equity in participation. Unfortunately, these are very familiar demands, invoked by many previous generations of conservation and development paradigms, and they have always proven elusive.

Meanwhile, it is clear that many advocates for and representatives of indigenous and rural people trust neither this new paradigm nor its architects, nor the way the structure has been built, to do any better. While some indigenous groups expect to derive benefits from it (Schwarzmann 2009), others have made clear they see REDD+ as just one more global project assembled by the many “bigs”—government, business, finance, and conservation—to dispossess rural people from their rights and resources (Carbon Trade Watch and Indigenous Environment Network n.d.).

figure

Figure 1. Native tree seedlings await boot owner. Photo: S. Paladino

Download figure to PowerPoint

Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography

Can carbon projects be done in ways that deliver on the promise of a new source of value and revenues for rural development? Can they be done in ways that strengthen the rights and resources of rural poor people, and advance their welfare and prosperity? Could carbon, under the urgency of climate change mitigation, actually be the generator of a new source of pro-poor investment and change?

In tandem with more formal processes such as the UNFCCC, a worldwide, voluntary market in carbon offsets has been growing and evolving over the past couple of decades (Peters-Stanley et al. 2011; Diaz et al. 2011). Freer of regulation and costly technical and administrative requirements such as those imposed by the CDM, the voluntary market has offered a favorable venue for innovative, pro-poor or social carbon projects. As with other global commodities, market niches have developed for carbon offsets with specialized, environmental, social or other criteria. These niches have been supported, in turn, by the emergence of sets of voluntary standards for carbon projects,5 as well as organizations that provide third-party verification of project practices and carbon registries (Diaz et al. 2011). This has been especially important in the face of critiques that the voluntary market has suffered from inadequate transparency and accountability, and consequently, fraudulent practices such as the double-counting of carbon credits (Checker 2008; Peters-Stanley et al. 2011). While the voluntary market is independent of compliance markets and trading schemes, the different frameworks substantially inform each other in terms of methodologies, definitions, and technical standards for performance and accounting. Suppliers often position themselves to supply various markets, as well as to stay competitive with market share (Diaz et al. 2011; Quechulpa, Ambio staff, pers. comm., 2008).

One of the standards for carbon projects with explicit social and rural development goals is Plan Vivo, and its flagship project is Scolel Te’. In the text that follows, I look at how Scolel Te’, one of the longest operating, pro-poor carbon projects in the world, responds to the tensions of articulating carbon forestry projects to the needs and objectives of rural people.

Outline of Scolel Te’

Scolel Te’ evolved the approach that ultimately became the basis of the Plan Vivo model. Operating in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, Scolel Te’ was from its beginning conceived as a pro-poor carbon project for mostly indigenous campesinos or smallholder farmers. Never envisioned as a sole source of income for participants, carbon revenues were instead seen as an income supplement that could help subsidize a transition to land use practices that restore ecosystem properties and support sustainable livelihoods. Carbon activities were meant to be integrated into, rather than supplant, existing sources of livelihood (Montoya et al. 1995; Nelson and de Jong 2003).

The project began out of the collaboration, in 1994, of an indigenous campesino organization representing small coffee growers, Pajal Yakactic, scientists from a Chiapas research and education institution, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), and an academic from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. The scientists/academics brought knowledge of carbon cycling in forests and a plate of carbon-conserving land use options to the table, while the members of Pajal conducted a series of vetting exercises among members that tailored the concept to their needs and objectives. Out of this early process, a suite of individually customizable, agroforestry designs were chosen as the preferred carbon storage activities and remain the primary templates employed through this day. This makes the project primarily what is called an A/R project, in contrast with REDD+ projects that focus on maintaining and improving existing forest stocks.6 Carbon agroforestry was seen as one of several development activities that Pajal Yakactic would offer to its members. Pajal initially administered the project, with support from members of the original academic and technical team. In 1997, the first participants began receiving carbon payments. By 1999, the project began to be administered independently of Pajal by Ambio, a nonindigenous, technical services cooperative set up for the purpose, and participation was opened to any smallholder anywhere in the state of Chiapas or nearby areas of Oaxaca. Ongoing technical support is provided by ECOSUR. And access to the carbon market was provided for many years by an Edinburgh broker until 2008, when Ambio began to take over all marketing responsibilities.7 To date, the project has 9,645 ha enrolled in the program with 2,437 producers; since inception, it has sold 470,123 tC.8

Carbon Permanence

There are several characteristics of the Scolel Te’ project model that help mitigate the tensions between the requirement of carbon permanence and the special conditions of poor, smallholder farmers, although there are some as yet unaddressed weaknesses. These include secure land tenure and transferable carbon payment rights; an individual self-assessment process for each participant to evaluate the feasibility of carbon forestry within existing family resources; agroforestry models intended to provide some front- and back-end benefits for maintaining tree plantations; and contingency funds that help relocate or replant carbon stocks in the event of losses or default.

Scolel Te’ does require secure land tenure of the participants, which comes in the majority of cases through membership in ejidos, a form of communal tenure produced by Mexican land reform. An unexpected result of the vetting process with early participants was that, despite the presence of communal lands and forests in most ejidos, the farmers’ preference was to engage in the project via what is effectively a private property model. That is, the farmers preferred to carry out carbon projects on the family-managed plots of land to which they have exclusive use rights as ejidatarios (formal rights holders in the ejido). Each participant signs an agreement and engages with the project individually, although they may have come to the project via their membership in an organization that has established contact with the project. The adult offspring who are designated heirs of ejidatarios are also able to enroll in the project. Rights to the trees and outstanding carbon payments can be transferred to heirs or new plot owners.9 The requirement of tenure, however, excludes enrollment in the project of people who do not have access to land via one of these routes. Some community members in this situation benefit from occasional wage labor when tree owners need help. I found no evidence that tree plantations caused displacement of preexisting use rights to resources on family plots, such as plants, minerals, or animals.

The core of the Plan Vivo process is a planning exercise that each would-be participant conducts to evaluate whether he or she has sufficient land, labor, time, and other resources to support tree planting without displacing other activities or causing family hardship. The intention is that a farmer will not enroll in the project if it risks boxing him or her into a situation where household security or other demands conflict with tree raising. The result is a map of each participant's landholdings, with the chosen plot design, species, and planting distances listed. This then becomes the basis of carbon storage calculations, subsequent annual monitoring exercises, and carbon payments that are modified if there are substantial changes in the actual number of trees present. It is understood that participants may cut trees for their own use over the years, and carbon storage calculations for the plot are discounted slightly to reflect that assumption. When attrition from the project happens, trees already planted have typically been left standing, if unattended. I did not find evidence for attrition due to a need to convert plots back to some other use.10

The project, thus, does tend to select for families with a certain minimum of land resources. The participants I interviewed had landholdings of 3.5 ha to 31 ha, with a median of 10 ha.11 The majority of indigenous participants participate practice swidden agriculture, with rotation cycles of three to ten years. The farmer with 3.5 ha lives in a region where a parcel of about half that size is needed to provide a year's subsistence crops. He is from a community that uses permanent (non-rotating) plots for crop production, depending on agro-chemicals to maintain fertility.

The agroforestry model employed has been developed with the aim to provide both short-term and long-term incentives to support tree permanence. Short-term incentives include synergies derived from combining trees with other production activities, as well as from carbon payments that are front-loaded to the first five years. Native, commercially viable timber species are planted within one of three main, individually customizable schemes: in fallow lands; combined with either annual (e.g., corn) or perennial (e.g., coffee, oranges) crops; and as living fence around pastures and production plots. Farmers enroll one hectare to begin with; some have enrolled one to three more hectares in the program in subsequent years. The agroforestry approach has allowed trees to be incorporated into existing land management practices without displacing subsistence activities or cash cropping. Farmers who combine trees with corn crops have other plots they plan to use for that purpose when tree competition and shade becomes too great. In most cases, combining trees with other crops has allowed participants to increase their returns to both land and labor, a strategy explicitly chosen by farmers, as the labor for maintaining both “crops” is only marginally increased by the addition of the trees. In some cases, it appears that carbon payments may even help some farmers subsidize the costs of day labor or inputs for agricultural crops.

The scheduling of carbon payments has evolved over the project life. Four of the five total payments are delivered in the first five years of the project, with a final delayed payment originally planned for the tenth year, and now advanced to the eighth. The frontloading of payments reflects early farmer preferences, and helps to subsidize labor costs, if any, the farmer may incur, typically for land preparation and planting in the first year. Both project staff and farmers also describe this arrangement as helping to cement the credibility of the Scolel Te’ project. For most participants I interviewed, the money was largely absorbed into household budgets. The payments are typically not large enough to have a significant impact on the participant's overall economic status, for example, through helping to capitalize new economic activities, and there is little evidence that they contribute to inequities within communities or families. Depending on the ecological zone and the plot design, in 2008, annual payments ran from roughly US$70 to US$150 per hectare, with the total of all payments ranging from US$350 to US$750.

Long-term incentives for tree “permanence” are built around the projection that farmers could sell the mature timber species planted after at least 20–25 years of growth, and replant behind them. This is envisaged as a step towards the development of a smallholder, sustainable forestry and forest products industry that could provide ongoing economic benefits while maintaining long term carbon stocks. A potential weakness of the model in relation to carbon permanence, however, is that most plots experience a midterm period when there are no direct, economic benefits, as coplanted crops are no longer viable but the trees are not yet at harvestable age. Conceivably, this could present a window of vulnerability should the farmer come under pressure to fill that benefit gap, that is, to derive immediate economic benefit from that land. Shade crops, such as coffee, are likely antidotes to this problem, but crops appropriate to the different micro-climates of the project need to be found, and some farmers are experimenting with livestock grazing once the trees are big enough to tolerate it.

Another potential weakness is that there is little precedent in the region for sustainable smallholder forestry on such small plots. The ability to deliver on this part of the project design will require meeting some potentially challenging permitting requirements, as well as developing appropriate technical, organizational, and business skills among farmers. The project has not yet invested in addressing these needs, nor in helping farmers find economic options for the middle phase of agroforestry plots. Nevertheless, deforestation in the region has been especially rapid during the past half century, and most of these communities depend heavily on wood for cooking and construction. The participants I interviewed anticipated that, apart from creating new timber reservoirs to serve family needs in the face of vastly diminished sources of local wood, the trees will have economic value for local sale in the future. Many of them talk of the trees as fulfilling a role that cattle have often played: a resource that requires little care and can be converted to cash as necessary. Many also describe a profound satisfaction, even love, from having the trees, and speak of them as one of the few a legacies, as a campesino, that they can leave to heirs.

Participants sign an agreement with the project to maintain trees on the plot for a targeted period of 100 years—a period derived from international protocols for carbon permanence. Clearly a stretch of time beyond the control of any one person, the project sets aside a percentage of carbon revenues in buffer funds to help finance the start-up of new plots to meet carbon commitments in the event that participants or their heirs decide to discontinue the activity. A buffer is also maintained to help participants replant in the event of losses due to fire or other unforeseen events. The agreement with farmers is not legally binding, so the project has no ability to sanction participants, other than to cease further carbon payments. In fact, farmers who sign up but do not follow through are often maintained on the rolls for some years (without payments or being counted toward carbon credits) in case their circumstances change.

Carbon Cost-Efficiency

These procedural and administrative adaptations, plus the trade-offs made between maximum carbon impact and the multiobjective land uses of campesinos, confirm that carbon cost-efficiency is an issue with which smallholder carbon projects must contend—with some provisos.

Each of the basic agroforestry systems employed is estimated to capture different amounts of carbon over the designated time period, according to variables such as climate, soil, tree species, and planting density. By incorporating multiple objectives, such as food crop production, into plot management, some carbon storage trade-offs are made relative to land managed exclusively for that purpose. However, there is growing evidence that agroforestry plots are undervalued for carbon impact as the calculation methodologies used, generally and by Ambio, have not taken into account the significant amounts of soil carbon created and conserved over baseline conditions. The net impact is particularly significant if the baseline is a swidden cornfield where fire was used to clear vegetation, which is the prevailing practice in much of the region (Roncal-Garcia et al. 2008; Soto-Pinto et al. 2010). Soil carbon may thus be an important, source of carbon revenue for smallholders and rural people across many landscapes, including grasslands (Neely 2009; Perez et al. 2007). Project staff has begun looking toward incorporating more sophisticated calculations of total system carbon impact as a way to better document carbon performance of the systems, and as a result, increase market price, a strategy that would be supported by the global acceptance of REDD+ approaches.

In the communities where Ambio has developed projects that support the conservation and improvement of communally-owned forests, project staff finds that transaction costs, as might be expected, are lower. Staff consider that being able to engage in a higher volume of REDD-based projects like these might help cover the higher costs of the projects with individual farmers. Thus, an ancillary benefit of international acceptance of REDD+ toward climate mitigation might be that the increased funding or market for projects focused on standing forests could, effectively, help subsidize the continuation of agroforestry projects that adapt to smallholders and the poor, if the two goals can be linked institutionally and financially.

Carbon Financing

In 1997, the project was registered with the United States Initiative for Joint Implementation of the UNFCCC (Corbera 2005), and a large purchase by the International Automobile Federation Foundation, responsible for Formula One and other car racing competitions, got the activities underway. A trust fund for receiving funds from buyers and disbursing payments to farmers was set up, initially managed by members of Pajal Yakactic and the academic team. By 1999, the fund was separated from the campesino organization, along with the overall project's administration. Ambio, a local nongovernmental, non-indigenous organization constituted as a technical services cooperative, became responsible for administering both the trust fund and field activities. With this shift, also, came a redirection of energies away from varied development activities and to the operation of a carbon agroforestry project.

For roughly half the project's life, average carbon prices hovered between US$10 and US$13 per tonne of carbon; by 2005, carbon prices began to reach the range of US$16.50–US$28.05 (Ambio 2008). Through 2007, two-thirds of the income from carbon sales went toward farmer payments, including the contingency buffer funds, with the rest supporting administrative and operating costs. During this period, Scolel Te’ was able to run almost exclusively on the basis of carbon sales, although outside projects taken on from time to time by Ambio staff contributed to office and related expenses.

During those years, the project's interactions with buyers were mediated by a broker based in Edinburgh. By 2008, Ambio began taking over marketing functions, working on developing a national market for its carbon and expanding the scope of its operations, as described in the next section. It also had received, at that time, more purchases than it was able to immediately place with farmers, in part due to backlogs in monitoring and administration tasks with existing participants. By contrast, the next two years saw a notable drop in carbon sales. At this juncture, Ambio found it needed to seek funding sources independent of carbon sales in order to help finance the additional administrative, marketing, recruitment, participant training, and technical demands being placed on the project. As part of an effort to regain some ground in supporting a broader development-oriented agenda, it also received outside funding to support activities such as an improved efficiency wood stove project for participants’ families. Faced with expanding commitments and fluctuating carbon sales, payment amounts to farmers were maintained at the same levels, but operating costs drew higher percentages from carbon sales and other funding sources (Ambio 2009; Ambio 2010).

The project's reliance for most of its life almost exclusively on income from carbon sales has had its pros and cons. On the one hand, the relatively short “commodity chain,” with few intermediaries, may have allowed the project to retain more of the carbon sales income toward project activities—a boon to a high transaction cost project like this. The affiliation with a local research institution, ECOSUR, meant that many of the costs associated with developing data and methodologies from which to calculate carbon advances were covered by outside funds. Some costs to the project were effectively reduced by the fact that farmers carry out several roles in the field aspects of the project, such as annual plot monitoring, and seed collection.

On the other hand, the reliance on carbon sales proved limiting to the number of activities the project could engage in. Activities that might have supported the original, broader, development-oriented goals—such as farmer capacity-building, livelihood strengthening, skills-building, and organizational development for smallholder sustainable forestry—were largely left by the wayside, in part because it would have required seeking additional funding outside that of carbon sales.

An additional challenge related to carbon financing has had to do with volatility in market prices. Carbon prices had been relatively steady for much of the project's life, establishing several years of precedent for consistent payment amounts to farmers. Once carbon prices started fluctuating in the late 2000s, project staff began to face the problem of how to adapt farmer payments so that equity across participants is maintained. For a social equity-oriented project operating in a political climate of entrenched campesino distrust of government and NGO projects, significant differences in payment parity among farmers could pose serious challenges to project legitimacy and credibility.

figure

Figure 2. Carbon Certificate Issued to New York Mayor Bloomberg (reproduced by permission of Ambio).

Download figure to PowerPoint

Technical and Administrative Demands

Early participants in the project, as well as researchers and staff, tend to describe two phases in the institutional development of the project; from my research, I add a third. Each of these has had implications for the extent to which the project has been able to realize non-carbon, social goals of the project.

The first phase was while the Scolel Te’ project was under the wing of the campesino organization, Pajal Yakactic. During this phase, through the late 1990s, farmers, first in collaboration with academics and then more independently, were centrally involved in the strategic direction as well as administration of the project. This is when the carbon agroforestry activities were considered as merely one activity in the pro-development portfolio of Pajal (Corbera 2005; Nelson and de Jong 2003).

The second phase began with the separation of the project from Pajal and its placement under the independent administration of Ambio. From about 1999 onward, the project refocused itself, purposefully or by default, on the task of developing the organizational procedures, tracking systems, technical methodologies, field methods, and banking system for receiving carbon sales and placing them with rural smallholders. There was little precedent to guide the way for what they were doing, and much was learned in the school of hard knocks. To all accounts, the learning curve did not have a lot of time to flatten out: farmer and carbon buyer demand increased; formal processes such as the UNFCCC continued to evolve the standards of practice; to stay competitive in the growing voluntary market where other players were entering the “social” carbon niche, project procedures had to adapt, including obtaining third-party verification of the project's methodologies and practices. Capacity-building and institutional development was primarily internal and focused on project administration staff. Farmer skills-building focused mainly on the nuts-and-bolts of field implementation and problem-solving. Locally-nominated farmers, acting as community and regional técnicos (“technicians”) helped carry out and coordinate the first stage of annual monitoring, served as communication conduits between project staff and participants, and attended meetings and training related to silviculture and monitoring. During most of this time, the project ran mostly off of carbon revenues. And during this time, few noncarbon-related activities were pursued.

The third phase began around 2007. The national and international profile of Scolel Te’ was high, as one of the few and longest running pro-poor carbon projects. Carbon forestry, especially REDD+, became a new focus of international policy, as well as of state and national level efforts to establish payment for environmental services programs. Demands were made on project staff to serve in policy processes. Ambio took over Scolel Te's marketing and promotional responsibilities, and was still modifying procedures and practices, such as its database systems and field monitoring methodologies, to meet the recommendations of third-party verifiers. Backlogs in carbon payments and in the placement of new carbon sales with farmers began to occur. In partnership with other non-governmental organizations and new funding sources, Ambio began a new phase of expansion of Scolel Te’ to communities in a region of the state where it had not worked before.12 And, ironically, Ambio was increasingly being pressed to document its social impacts.

At this stage, it was clear that carbon sales alone would not suffice to support the increasing institutional demands on Ambio, let alone activities that might increase Scolel Te's impact on rural poverty or sustainable development, and it began seeking outside funds. At the same time, Ambio began to increase the roles of farmer participants. It began paying part-time salaries to regional técnicos to take on more formal responsibilities in the project, such as in farmer recruitment, training and skills development, and field monitoring. Meetings in different field locations were held to foster learning, exchange, and initiative among participants within and across regions of the state and with participants in the neighboring state of Oaxaca. Training events were held so that farmers could gain skills and take more active roles in silviculture, tree nursery management, and seed collection. Most of these new farmer support activities were financed by grants from outside sources, as were many of the growing institutional and administrative demands being experienced.

The project has gone from 677 farmers enrolled in 2007 to 2437 in 2010 (Ambio 2010). Non-carbon revenue has continued to be critical to supporting Ambio's ability to handle the increasingly complex demands of running Scolel Te’.

Conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography

The example of Scolel Te’, as well as sister projects being developed along the Plan Vivo lines,13 suggest that there is an array of techniques that can be used to adapt carbon forestry and carbon farming so that the rural poor can participate with minimal negative economic or social impacts, and some economic and capacity-building benefits. The Scolel Te’ agroforestry example, however, is tailored to the specific situations of indigenous smallholders who have tenure and a minimum amount of land with which to participate. Other lessons can certainly be derived from the project's increasing work with communal forests on ejido lands, but this is not explored here.

One of the critiques of the project is that its original development-oriented focus came to be subsumed by a narrower focus on carbon, and that farmers were no longer strategic participants. Yet the project has achieved a remarkable record of longevity for a highly politicized region where most conservation and development projects fall prey to local and national politics, constantly changing programs and paradigms, and poor delivery of promised results. Ironically, this longevity may be in large part because the project did invest intensely in creating a reliable, credible mechanism that could articulate the very different objectives and interests of rural people with those of the global carbon market. Perhaps because of this investment in internal development, the project has been largely able to deliver on what it offers, even if the reach of its offer became much more modest once it was separated from the campesino organization. That, in itself, is a real achievement.

Nevertheless, one of the lessons taken is that just the demands of achieving this level of institutional learning has required considerable time and effort and in the end, more financial support than carbon sales alone could supply. It seems clear that a commitment to building the capacity for locally run and beneficial carbon activities requires the dedication of extra funds, and even more so for populations who have little experience with the languages, technologies, and concepts involved. It is hard to imagine how carbon sales alone could also support more transformative activities that seek to actually change the status of the rural poor.

Some strategies might help direct higher portions of carbon finance towards rural dwellers. One is to continue to expand ideas of what constitutes effective land-based carbon storage, to include the different kinds of working landscapes that the rural poor inhabit. Valuing reduced emissions from lost soil carbon as well as increased soil carbon storage achieved by many agricultural and pastoral practices might help increase carbon projects and prices directed to the poor.

Another option is to look at how to raise the value given to “social” carbon. Lessons might be taken—pro and con—from other efforts by the rural poor to insert themselves into commodity production on positive terms, for example, in the fair trade sector. What has been successful in the efforts of coffee producers, for instance, to gain more control over the terms of trade, and how does the complexity of navigating carbon markets compare with that of agricultural commodity markets?

In a similar vein, what are the possibilities for reducing the costs of “social” carbon? Are there larger units through which poor producers could pool their efforts and reduce the transaction costs even if they are working from individual plots? Could such units allow for the participation of people without tenure to participate?

However, fundamental questions remain about the whether such measures merely constitute a tweaking of the inner walls of an architecture that is inherently unsuited, if not antithetical, to pro-poor carbon undertakings. For one, the rationale that carbon forestry offsets in developing countries are more cost-effective relative to other mitigation options is predicated precisely on the relative income poverty of the regions and populations in question. To the extent that the monetary value assigned to such offsets is based on estimations of opportunity costs that only take into account the few, economically viable alternatives available to poor populations and poor countries (as was the case for early calculations of Scolel Te’ carbon prices), the relative cost advantage exists only as long as there are underlying income disparities between emitters and offsetters, buyers and producers. As with other global commodities, except for carbon buyers or financers with altruistic or image-”greening” motives, the underlying economic rationale is unlikely to generate incentives for assigning extra monetary value (and therefore higher carbon prices) for poverty reduction or rights-strengthening projects. Pagiola et al. (2005) found that PES projects clearly favored buyers terms. McAfee (in review) finds similar results and argues that the underlying logics of cost- and market-efficiency structure these transactions to maintain poverty and direct wealth “upward.”

For another, the structures emerging for REDD+ projects within international climate change negotiations seem likely to create strong international and national pressures to meet quantified emissions reduction goals to which financial inflows are attached. The incentives for achieving stated goals of “full and effective participation” and social safeguards for affected peoples, on the other hand, remain relatively weaker and more vaguely specified. The tensions in this disparity are underscored by ongoing arguments that carbon mitigation may be too urgent to wait for murkier, more elusive processes of social inclusion and policy reform to take place.

Further, the volume of funding needed to finance REDD+ actions at a scale that could meet intended emission reduction goals almost certainly requires the involvement of the private, financial sector. Though financial institutions and private investors are already important players in existing carbon markets, this has raised the specter of a vaster, unregulated, “carbon capitalism” that manipulates carbon derivatives and other financial instruments as sources of profit in and of themselves, potentially distorting prices in ways that have little relation to the actual value and purpose of carbon offsets in regulating emissions (Chester and Rosewarne 2011; Kassenaar 2009). Far from the classic PES scenario of a level playing field on which buyers and producers create win-win outcomes, the prospect is one of financial and intermediate actors structuring markets for their profit while the percentages of carbon finances going to rural producers or to processes strengthening them are diminished (McAfee in review).

Finally, securing and appropriately directing non-market funding to finance the additional or full costs of pro-indigenous and pro-poor carbon projects requires a political will and capacity across political scales that has too often been the missing link in so many conservation and development projects. Carbon forestry, especially in developing countries or regions, may be considered “cheap” relative to other mitigation options, but the example of Scolel Te’ and similar projects suggests that socially sustainable and equitable carbon most definitely is not. Whether the forces gathering under the new paradigm of managing forests for carbon are ready or able to pay for it remains to be seen.

Acknowledgments

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography

Research on Scolel Te’ was sponsored by El Colegio de la Frontera Sur and funded by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) of Mexico. It was carried out as part of a larger project evaluating agroforestry systems for carbon capture, under the direction of Dr. Lorena Soto-Pinto. Research assistance was provided by José de Jesus Trujillo, Manuel Anzueto, and Florinda López. The collaboration of Elsa Esquivel Bazán and Sotero Quechulpa Montalvo (Ambio staff), and Nicolás Rodríguez López and Fernando López Aguilar (Scolel Te’ regional técnicos), as well as many farmer participants, was essential.

Notes
  1. 1

    International agreements include the International Labor Organization, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Donor organizations such as CARE and Oxfam programs incoporate rights-based approaches.

  2. 2

    See, for instance, “The Declaration of Patihuitz: Divided We Become Allies of the Government”, April 5, 2011. http://www.towardfreedom.com/americas/2351-declaration-of-patihuitz-in-chiapas-mexico-divided-we-become-allies-of-the-government. Accessed September 4, 2011.

  3. 3

    See “Communique from the Communities of Amador Hernandez Region, Montes Azules, Lacandon Jungle. http://climate-connections.org/2011/09/05/communique-from-the-communities-of-the-amador-hernandez-region-montes-azules-lacandon-jungle/. Accessed April 9, 2011.

  4. 4

    Transaction costs include “costs of negotiating, contracting, implementing, and monitoring a project” and “of registering, verifying, and certifying a project” (Jindal et al. 2008:126).

  5. 5

    For instance, the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards. http://www.climate-standards.org.

  6. 6

    Scolel Te’ also works with a few ejidos to support communal forests through a REDD+ approach, and has slowly expanded the number of such communal forestry contracts.

  7. 7

    For more detailed accounts of project history, see Nelson and de Jong 2003, Corbera 2005, and Montoya et al. 1995.

  8. 8

    Figures taken from Plan Vivo website, http://www.planvivo.org/projects/registeredprojects/scolel-te-mexico/. Accessed April 9, 2011.

  9. 9

    Since 1992, most ejidatarios’ individual plots have been “certificated” through the Programa de Certificación de Derechos Ejidales y Titulación de Solares Urbanos (PROCEDE), facilitating their transfer to non-ejidatarios under certain conditions. According to project staff and farmer interviews, transfer of enrolled agroforestry plots to date has been rare, and then only within the same ejido.

  10. 10

    Ambio staff could not provide percentages of attrition at the time of my study because of database system limitations. Reasons given by participants and staff for attrition are varied and include expectations that monitoring of the plantations would be lax (conditioned by a history of government payments to farmers that demanded little in return); farmer assessments that carbon payments were not worth the effort; and disagreements within ejidos, farmer organizations, and between project and organizations that had little to do with the merits of the agroforestry plots themselves.

  11. 11

    Records of landholding size for all project participants were not available, but the project staff and farmer participants agreed that the range found among interviewees was representative of the typical participant.

  12. 12
  13. 13

References Cited

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography
  • Agrawal, Arun, Ashwini Chhatre, and Rebecca Hardin 2008 Changing Governance of the World's Forests. Science 320:14601462.
  • Alcorn, Janis 2010 Getting REDD Right—Best Practices That Protect Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Enhance Indigenous Livelihoods. Best Practice Note, prepared for the Inter-American Development Bank. December.
  • Ambio 2008 Reporte Anual 2007. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
  • Ambio 2009 Annual Report. http://www.planvivo.org/wp-content/uploads/2009Annual_Report_ScolelTe_Final.pdf, accessed July 25, 2010.
  • Ambio 2010 Annual Report. http://www.planvivo.org/projects/registeredprojects/scolel-te-mexico/, accessed September 14, 2011.
  • Angelsen, Arild, and Stibniati Atmadja 2008 What Is This Book About? In Moving Ahead with REDD; Issues, Options and Implications. Arild Angelsen , ed. Pp. 110. Bogor: CIFOR.
  • Bamsley, Ingrid 2009 UNU-IAS Guide. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). A Guide for Indigenous Peoples. http://www.ias.unu.edu, accessed September 3, 2011.
  • Bass, Stephen, Olivier Dubois, Pedro Moura Costa, Michelle Pinard, Richard Tipper, and Charlie Wilson 2000 Rural Livelihoods and Carbon Management. IIED Natural Resources Issues Paper No. 1. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.
  • Brown, David, Frances Seymour, and Leo Peskett 2008 How Do We Achieve REDD Benefits and Avoid Doing Harm? In Moving Ahead with REDD; Issues, Options and Implications. Arid Angelsen , ed. Pp. 107118. Bogor: CIFOR.
  • Carbon Trade Watch and Indigenous Environment Network N.d. NO REDD! A Reader. http://noredd.makenoise.org/, accessed September 5, 2011.
  • Checker, Melissa 2008 Carbon Offsets: More Harm Than Good? http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/08/27/carbon-offsets-more-harm-than-good/, accessed August 30, 2008.
  • Chester, L. and Rosewarne, S. 2011 What Is the Relationship between Derivative Markets and Carbon Prices? Draft paper presented at the Conference “NatureTM Inc? Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation,” The Hague, The Netherlands, 30 June–2 July.
  • Corbera, Esteve 2005 Interrogating Development in Carbon Forestry Activities: A Case Study from Mexico. Doctoral dissertation, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia.
  • Diaz, David, Katherine Hamilton and Evan Johnson 2011 State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011; From Canopy to Currency. Ecosystem Marketplace. http://www.forest-trends.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=2963, accessed September 18, 2011.
  • Dutschke, Michael, and Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff, with Leo Peskett, Cecilia Luttrell, Charlotte Streck, and Jessica Brown 2008 How Do We Match Country Needs with Financing Sources? In Moving Ahead with REDD; Issues, Options and Implications. Arid Angelsen , ed. Pp. 4152. Bogor: CIFOR.
  • Fincke, Annelie 2010 IUCN Briefing Document; Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change/REDD: An Overview of Current Discussions and Main Issues. http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/iucn_briefing_ips_and_redd_aug_2010_report_1.pdf, accessed September 15, 2011.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 Forestry. Working Group III Report on Mitigation of Climate Change to the Fourth Assessment Report. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg3/en/ch9.html, accessed September 9, 2011.
  • Jindal, Rohit, Brent Swallow, and John Kerr 2008 Forestry-Based Carbon Sequestration Projects in Africa: Potential Benefits and Challenges. Natural Resources Forum 32:116130.
  • Kassenaar, Lisa 2009 Carbon Capitalists Warming to Climate Market Using Derivatives. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aXRBOxU5KT5M, accessed October 18, 2011.
  • McAfee, K. in review Selling Nature to Finance Development? The Contradictory Logic of “Global” Environmental-Services Markets. Development and Change, (accepted for publication in Jan. 2012 issue).
  • Montoya, Guillermo (Coord), Lorena Soto, Ben de Jong, Kristen Nelson, Pablo Farias, Pajal Yakactic, and John H. Taylor 1995 Desarrollo forestal sustentable: Captura de carbono en las zonas tzeltal y tojolabal del estado de Chiapas. Cuadernos de Trabajo No. 4. Instituto Nacional de Ecologia, Mexico.
  • Neely, Constance L. 2009 Dryland Pastoral Systems and Climate Change: Implications for Mitigation and Adaptation. Paper presented for panel, “Carbon Capture and Environmental Services Projects: Who and What Do They Serve?” Stephanie Paladino and Shirley Fiske, chairs. Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Santa Fe, NM, March 17–21.
  • Nelson, Kristen C. and Ben H. J. de Jong 2003 Making Global Initiatives Local Realities: Carbon Mitigation Projects in Chiapas, Mexico. Global Environmental Change 13:1930.
  • Pagiola, Stefano, Agustin Arcenas and Gunars Platais 2005 Can Payments for Environmental Services Help Reduce Poverty? An Exploration of the Issues and the Evidence to Date from Latin America. World Development 33(2):237253.
  • Paladino, Stephanie 2005 We Are the Guardians of the Selva; Conservation, Indigenous Communities, and Common Property in the Selva Lacandona, Mexico. Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia.
  • Perez, Carlos, Carla Roncoli, Constance Neely, and Jean L. Steiner 2007 Can Carbon Sequestration Markets Benefit Low-Income Producers in Semi-Arid Africa? Potentials and Challenges. Agricultural Systems 94:212.
  • Peters-Stanley, Molley, Katherine Hamilton, Thomas Marcello, and Milo Sjardin 2011 Back to the Future State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2011. Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Washington, D. C. http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com, accessed September 5, 2011.
  • Roncal-García, Sandra, Lorena Soto-Pinto, Jorge Castellanos-Albores, Neptalí Martínez-Marcial y Bernadus de Jong 2008 Sistemas Agroforestales y Almacenamiento de Carbono en Comunidades Indígenas de Chiapas, México. Interciencia 33(3):200206. Marzo.
  • Schwarte, Christoph, and Essam Yassin Mohammed 2011 Carbon Righteousness: How to Lever Pro-Poor Benefits from REDD+. IIED Briefing. July 2011. International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
  • Schwarzmann, Stephan 2009 Forest Peoples and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD): From Local Politics to Global Policy. Paper presented for panel, “Carbon Capture and Environmental Services Projects: Who and What Do They Serve?” Stephanie Paladino and Shirley Fiske, chairs. Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Santa Fe, NM, March 17–21.
  • Sommerville, Matt. 2011 Land Tenure and REDD+. Risks to Property Rights and Opportunities for Economic Growth. Property Rights and Resource Governance Briefing Paper No. 11. U.S. A.I.D. Issue Brief. August. http://usaidlandtenure.net/usaidltprproducts/issue-briefs/issue-brief-land-tenure-and-redd-risks-to-property-rights-and-opportunities-for-economic-growth, accessed September 2, 2011.
  • Soto-Pinto, Lorena, Manuel Anzueto, Jorge Mendoza, Guillermo Jimenez Ferrer, and Ben de Jong 2010 Carbon Sequestration through Agroforestry in Indigenous Communities of Chiapas, Mexico. Agroforestry Systems 78:3951.
  • Tschakert, Petra 2007 Environmental Services and Poverty Reduction: Options for Smallholders in the Sahel. Agricultural Systems 94:7586.
  • UNFCCC 2010 Decision 1/CP.16: Outcome of the Work of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention. Document number FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/L.7. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_16/application/pdf/cop16_lca.pdf, accessed September 5, 2011.
  • UN-REDD Programme 2010 Perspectives on REDD+. UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, International Environment House, 11-13 Chemin des Anémones, CH-1219 Châtelaine, Geneva, Switzerland. http://un-redd.org/Publications/tabid/587/Default.aspx, accessed September 4, 2011.
  • World Bank 2005 O.P. 4.10 Indigenous Peoples http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/PROJECTS/EXTPOLICIES/EXTOPMANUAL/0,contentMDK:20553653|menuPK:64701637|pagePK:64709096|piPK:64709108|theSitePK:502184,00.html, accessed September 2, 2011.
  • Wunder, S., and M. Alban 2008 Decentralized Payments for Environmental Services: The Cases of Pimampiro and PROFAFOR in Ecuador. Ecological Economics 65(4):685698.

Biography

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Carbon: The New Forest Governance Regime?
  4. Carbon Forestry and the Poor within UNFCCC and REDD+
  5. Alternative Architectures? A Pro-Poor Carbon Example in the Voluntary Market: Scolel Te’
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References Cited
  9. Biography
  • Stephanie Paladino is an independent, environmental anthropologist whose recent work includes assessing the impacts on Maya farmers of participation in a carbon trading project for El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Chiapas, Mexico; and ethnographic research on the human consequences of the 2010 BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico for Impact Assessment, Inc.