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Participant Perceptions of Risk and Benefit in Carbon Forestry: Evidence From Central Tanzania

Bozmoski, Alexander S., Hultman, Nathan E.
TheJournal of environment & development 2010 v.19 no.1 pp. 4-27
carbon, carbon markets, developing countries, forestry, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, land use change, livelihood, ownership, risk, social benefit, sustainable development, trees, villages, Tanzania
This article addresses forestry projects attempting to register with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Advocates argue that forestry projects have significant potential for sequestering carbon, contributing to livelihood improvements, and promoting sustainable development in developing countries—especially African countries with predominately agrarian economies and relatively high GHG emissions from land-use change. Through a comparison of two carbon-forestry projects in central Tanzania, we investigated both the livelihood effects of these projects and the risk and benefit perceptions of project administrators and the government. Both projects have been unable to gain national government approval, and we find evidence of mixed benefits for local communities. Village communities participating in one program consistently identified environmental and social benefits of planting trees locally and judged them as more important than carbon payments. A key variable is ownership, as villagers that have forfeited their land to a plantation have little stake in the program, whereas villagers participating in a community-based program own their trees. Our results suggest that enhancing ties to local ownership can contribute to sustainable development while better enhancing the potential of the carbon market to work for the rural poor in developing countries.