Property rights and liability for deforestation under REDD+: Implications for 'permanence' in policy design
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is critical in efforts to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Despite uncertainty about the exact form of a future, international REDD+ system, REDD+ carbon property rights would need to be created and allocated with liability assigned for the potential loss of climate benefits in the event of carbon reversal from deforestation. This commentary explores the links between forest property rights and liability, to different REDD+ policy options and their implications for permanence. Should national governments retain liability for permanence then project-level activities that have individually-assigned REDD+ carbon rights may have a higher risk of carbon reversal than policies where rights are assigned to the state. Knowledge of pre-existing forest rights is necessary for some policies implemented with government-assigned REDD+ rights in order to compensate for potential income losses from policy implementation.
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