The politics of inclusion/exclusion of REDD+ in Tanzania

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9291
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/9923

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In recent years, the green economy has emerged as the 'panacea' to the many unprecedented social and environmental crises we face today. One important sphere of the green economy, where the logic of market-based 'green growth' has gained a lot of traction, is the protection and conservation of nature. A prominent example of this is REDD+, which turns terrestrial carbon in the global South into fictitious commodities that can be sold for profit. REDD+ has been especially popular because of the many social and ecological benefits it claims to offer. In this paper I conceptualise REDD+ as a form of 'inclusive' neoliberal conservation, which promises economic and political empowerment to the local poor through their formal inclusion in global conservation capital. I criqitue the win-win discourse of REDD+ and 'inclusive' neoliberal conservation more broadly and demonstrate how the commodification of carbon causes new forms of inclusion and exclusion to forest users. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in two forest-dependent villages in the Lindi Region of Tanzania, where two different REDD+ projects were underway, I show how material and discursive powers shaped development actors' inclusive strategies to market forest carbon. I discuss how the formalisation of forest governance changes the access and use of common forests and argue that new forms of inclusions and exclusions, both in and outside rural villages, emerge. I call upon practitioners and analysts to acknowledge the illusionary character of 'inclusive' neoliberal conservation and deal with the coexistence of inclusions/exclusions in all land use.