REDDy or not? The Effects on Indigenous Peoples in Brazil of a Global Mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation

Nicholas Anderson


Deforestation in the tropics accounts for one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, the preservation of remaining tropical forests is an integral component of any international climate change mitigation policy. Indigenous peoples are crucial actors for the success of such a policy given the large amount of forestland in indigenous hands, their historical and cultural role in the management of forests, and their relative success at sustainable forest stewardship.

The aim of this research is to contribute to the academic literature and to the ongoing international debate over a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), scheduled to culminate in December 2009 at the Copenhagen Climate Conference. This article aims to answer the question: What will be the effects on indigenous peoples in Brazil of an international policy mechanism for REDD? It draws upon research conducted using a qualitative prospective policy evaluation method to describe the possible risks and opportunities to indigenous peoples and to make recommendations for improving REDD on the variables of scope, financing, and the process of negotiation and governance.

Although the article concentrates on the effects of a REDD policy on indigenous peoples in Brazil given its status as a leading-edge case on this issue, it aspires to offer lessons for the other countries of the Amazon basin.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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