Title: REDD at the crossroads? The opportunities and challenges of REDD for conservation and human welfare in South West Uganda

Authors: Ronald Twongyirwe; Douglas Sheil; Chris G. Sandbrook; Lindsey C. Sandbrook

Addresses: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge, CB2 3EN, UK ' Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management (INA), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), P.O. Box 5003, 1432 Ås, Norway; Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 44, Kabale, Uganda; Centre for International Forestry Research, P.O. Box 0113 BOCBD, Bogor 16000, Indonesia ' United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0DL, UK; Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge, CB2 3EN, UK ' Makindye, Kampala, Uganda

Abstract: Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in the tropics could slow climate change while contributing to biodiversity conservation and to improvement of people's livelihoods. In this study, we assessed the opportunities and challenges of implementing REDD in South West (SW) Uganda. We consulted key stakeholders and reviewed regional literature particularly focusing on the opportunities for conservation and human welfare benefits. We structured our study using the Simpson and Vira's (2010) framework for assessing policy interventions. The leading drivers of forest loss and degradation include escalating timber trade, fuel-wood extraction and agricultural expansion. Forestry authorities were poorly funded, largely uncoordinated and widely accused of corruption. Land tenure was a concern with many de-facto owners lacking legal titles. Generally, local stakeholders had limited awareness of REDD, and local expectations appeared un-realistically high. Mechanisms for allocating and administering REDD payments remained unknown. However, civil society organisations appeared the most popular option to manage REDD funding as government agencies had limited credibility. For REDD to succeed, the challenges we have highlighted will need to be addressed: key to success will be improvements in foundational knowledge, enabling institutions and social conditions. Our results have implications for potential REDD activities around the world which face similar challenges.

Keywords: REDD; governance; biodiversity conservation; climate change; forests; Uganda; human welfare; emissions reduction; deforestation; forest degradation; policy interventions; timber trade; wood fuel extraction; agricultural expansion; coordination; corruption; land tenure; payment administration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2015.070136

International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2015 Vol.14 No.3, pp.273 - 298

Available online: 11 May 2015

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