Forecasted future climate changes have the potential to exacerbate existing social vulnerabilities, especially in poorer developing countries, and communities' and individuals' ability to cope with these challenges are 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 forest conservation efforts known as Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD) in order to sequester carbon and contribute to climate change mitigation. However, if access and use rights to forests change under REDD implementation, 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 is therefore important, particularly before such large-scale global programs get more fully underway. This study will use the country of Vietnam, an early forest carbon policy development site, to test several questions regarding the usefulness of payments for forest protection. 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 policymaking in this area can be improved. A multi-scale and multi-method research design will be used to capture data about local household decision-making as well as other interactions that come about from changes in access and rights under payment plans for forest services. In terms of projected outcomes, this project will provide an early and unique experimental opportunity to assess the relative impacts of a new global policy and to help explain successes and failures. This study, which begins as policies for forest protection payments are taking off, will provide a baseline to explain the variation in performance of different possible approaches over time. Outcomes from this study will include contributions to policy-relevant knowledge on better land use management for lower carbon emissions from tropical areas.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/12 → 8/31/17|