Territorialising REDD+: conflicts over market-based forest conservation in Lindi, Tanzania

SOURCE: Land Use Policy
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): A.Scheba, O.S.Rakotonarivo
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9331
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/9980

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This paper uses the lens of political ecology to shed light on the causes and effects of pro-poor REDD+ induced land use conflicts. We build our study on recent theoretical work on territorialisation in nature conservation to analyse the conflicts and outcomes of the TFCG/Mjumita REDD+ project in Lindi,Tanzania. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork in two case study villages we argue that conservation organisations increasingly make use of participatory tools, FPIC procedures and good governance principles to include local populations in the creation of what we call market-based conservation territories (MBCT).In contrast to project developer's claims of win-win benefits, we highlight the mixed outcomes of MBCTs and argue that their performance-driven nature and reliance on formal governance arrangements lead to the enclosure of common forests. This inevitably causes conflicts between and within villages over the meaning, ownership and access to forest resources, especially given the importance of customary relations in tropical rural contexts. We argue that despite the extensive community engagement strategy and genuine pro-poor approach of the REDD+ project, project proponents were unable to prevent land use conflicts and risks of economic and physical displacement. The specific social, economic and political conditions shaped the implementation of the project which led to negative consequences to some stakeholders despite genuinely noble intentions. Therefore, we argue that in order to achieve more positive results when creating MBCT, project developers must better acknowledge the inherent trade-offs of markets in conservation and take the limitations and realities of local governance context better into account. We suggest a more explicit assessment of social and environmental justice in the project and more context-specific efforts to prevent social harm from conservation. Theoretically, our study con-tributes to a better understanding of territorialisation processes under the current trend of market-based conservation.