Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is currently a major topic in the debate on policies to mitigate climate change.

Developing mechanisms to ensure equity and permanence is a major challenge in REDD+ scheme design. This study contributes to the debate in three ways: first, it addresses equity issues related to the implementation of REDD+ schemes by assessing, theoretically and empirically, policies that create alternative livelihood options for people around REDD+ forests; second, it is the first study to test and compare different REDD+ payment schemes in the field; and third, it is the first study to provide some insights on the effectiveness of different policies with respect to the permanence of forest-based emission reductions.

This study implements a stated preference experiment of time allocation in the unique setting of the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya, the first REDD project ever to issue carbon credits under an internationally accepted standard, where charcoaling is a major source of forest degradation. The impact on time allocation is analysed under the presumption that a hypothetical agricultural policy or an eco-charcoaling policy was introduced.

We find that a policy that indexes eco-charcoal payments to charcoalers’ opportunity costs is the most effective policy in providing permanence in REDD+: it lowers the amount of labor allocated to charcoaling even at high charcoal prices.

Speaker: Stefanie Engel, Professor of Environmental Policy and Economics at ETH Zurich and a member of the Institute for Environmental Decisions; she has published widely in international refereed journals, including Science and major journals in environmental and development economics, and her main research area is the institutional and policy design for sustainable natural resource management.

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