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Long term effectiveness of REDD+ projects in the Brazilian Amazon: opportunity costs to local participants

2012Long term effectiveness of REDD+ projects in the Brazilian Amazon: opportunity costs to local participants.NERY ALVES PINTO Helena (Brazil)
Organisation:University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK)Supervisor :Carlos Peres
Summary: In a recently implemented REDD+ programme (Bolsa Floresta) in the Brazilian Amazon, local communities receive undifferentiated financial rewards under a payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme that inhibits agricultural conversion of primary forests. Yet manioc yields, the main component of subsistence livelihoods in this area, is positively correlated with age of regenerating secondary forest, which may affect per capita agricultural productivity given likely trends in population growth. A reduction in manioc production is therefore expected, since greater cropland demand under the BF deforestation avoidance scenario would result in either smaller agricultural plots or shorter rotation cycles. Based on interviews at 35 local communities along Juruá River, AM, we assessed the relationship between secondary forest fallow age and agricultural yields, as well as detailed costs of manioc production for different forest fallow age. Opportunity Costs of cultivating in secondary forests were identified, and manioc yield changes calculated considering population growth. Although most households had a positive perception and were generally supportive of the scheme, we predict an escalation in economic opportunity costs as village sizes or village proliferation increases. Bolsa Floresta is a groundbreaking large-scale PES initiative in tropical forest conservation, but a comprehensive assessment of long-term consequences to households suggests that this reward system can become more effective through adaptive changes that take into account the full economic portfolio of local participants.