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Multi-Scalar Governance for Restoring the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: A Case Study on Small Landholdings in Protected Areas of Sustainable Development

Ball, Alaine A., Gouzerh, Alice, Brancalion, Pedro H. S.
Forests 2014 v.5 no.4 pp. 599-619
case studies, conservation areas, environmental policy, farmers, financial economics, forest restoration, forests, fruits, governance, indigenous species, interviews, land ownership, landscapes, markets, models, nongovernmental organizations, planting, qualitative analysis, social sciences, sustainable development
Implementation of forest restoration projects requires cross-scale and hybrid forms of governance involving the state, the market, civil society, individuals, communities, and other actors. Using a case study from the Atlantic Forest Hotspot, we examine the governance of a large-scale forest restoration project implemented by an international non-governmental organization (NGO) on family farmer landholdings located within protected areas of sustainable development. In addition to forest restoration, the project aims to provide an economic benefit to participating farmers by including native species with market potential (fruits, timber) in restoration models and by contracting farmers in the planting phase. We employed qualitative methods such as structured interviews and participant observation to assess the effect of environmental policy and multi-scalar governance on implementation and acceptability of the project by farmers. We demonstrate that NGO and farmer expectations for the project were initially misaligned, hampering farmer participation. Furthermore, current policy complicated implementation and still poses barriers to project success, and projects must remain adaptable to changing legal landscapes. We recommend increased incorporation of social science methods in earlier stages of projects, as well as throughout the course of implementation, in order to better assess the needs and perspectives of participants, as well as to minimize trade-offs.