DOWNSCALING REDD POLICIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF CARBON PAYMENTS ON HOUSEHOLD DECISION MAKING AND VULNERABILITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN VIETNAM

Project Details

Description

This research project will use the country of Vietnam, an early forest carbon policy development site, to test several questions regarding the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). This project will analyze the ways in which payments for environmental services like carbon sequestration alter land-use decision making by smallholder households; evaluate if these changes in land use serve to increase or reduce overall social and biophysical vulnerability to future climate changes; and assess how local understandings of household decision making and land use influence subnational and national policy to implement global goals like REDD. A multi-scale, multi-method research design will be used, including observational data, surveys, household accounting diaries, key informant interviews, policy analysis, forest monitoring, and spatial analysis of land-use change. These methods are designed to capture local household decision making as well as multi-scale interactions that come about from changes in access and rights under payment plans for forest services. Forecasted future climate changes have the potential to exacerbate existing social vulnerabilities, especially in poorer developing countries. The ability of communities and individuals to cope with these challenges is likely to depend on their ability to access and mobilize natural resources. At the same time, new global policies are in development that would pay countries for 'avoided deforestation' through REDD in order to sequester carbon and contribute to climate change mitigation. If access and use rights to forests change under REDD implementation, however, this may render some households and communities more vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the long term if these policies reduce their adaptive capacity by restricting access to natural resources. An understanding of the potential outcomes of carbon-credit policies on land-use decision making therefore is important, particularly before such large- scale global programs get more fully underway. This research project will provide an early and unique experimental opportunity to assess the relative impacts of a new global policy and help explain successes and failures through a fine-grained local analysis. This project will provide a baseline to explain the variation in performance of different possible REDD approaches over time. The project further addresses current concerns with driving forces of vulnerability and interactions between global and local scales in coupled socioecological systems through research on how global REDD policy affects local social vulnerabilities and dynamics. Outcomes from this study will include contributions to policy-relevant knowledge on social vulnerability to climate change in a country that is likely to be one of the most affected in the world to future changes in rainfall, storms, and sea-level rise. Finally, this project will foster collaboration among researchers and students in the US and Vietnam on the crucially important issue of climate change.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date8/1/111/31/14

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))

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