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A Collaborative Forest Management user group's perceptions and expectations on REDD+ in Nepal

Gilani, Haris R., Yoshida, Tomoko, Innes, John L.
Forest policy and economics 2017 v.80 pp. 27-33
climate, climate change, decision making, deforestation, forest management, forests, household surveys, indigenous peoples, interviews, questionnaires, risk, stakeholders, Nepal
Although local communities and indigenous peoples are the main actors for REDD+ practices, their needs and perceptions have received little attention in the debates on REDD+, despite much rhetoric to the contrary. In this study, a Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) site was studied using a questionnaire survey administered to a CFM user group in order to understand CFM users' perceptions and knowledge of their forest and REDD+ and evaluate their expectations for potential REDD+ benefits. Specifically, the study investigated the following questions: Do CFM users know about REDD+? Are there any differences in the perceptions and expectations among nearby and distant users?The data obtained from the semi-structured questionnaire, interviews and household survey indicate that people are sensitive to changes in climate and the forest around them but are unaware of climate change mechanisms and the links between climate change and deforestation. Compared to distant users, nearby users felt more strongly that the forest is essential to their lives and were more interested in participation in REDD+ practices. As the distant users are also significant actors in management practices, there is a need to raise distant users' interests in REDD+. Both nearby and distant users had high expectations of the potential benefits of REDD+. These findings are significant for policymakers as they provide insights into the feasibility of REDD+ within the context of the present form of CFM in Nepal. The Government and related stakeholders should communicate with the local communities regarding the opportunities and risks of REDD+ projects, and meaningfully involve the local communities in the design and implementation process if they are to receive local support. It is important to develop a system of equitable decision-making and benefit-sharing that reflects local needs, and is incorporated into any REDD+ action plans applied to the Terai forests.