Integrating socio-economic data to improve the design and impact of REDD+ schemes

Policies to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) are becoming increasingly important as a mechanism to protect tropical forests.  International negotiations have resulted in criteria under which such schemes can be implemented. At the same time, there is an emerging consensus that in order for these schemes to be successful and ensure adequate and sustained impact, it is vital that socio-economic characteristics of communities surrounding these tropical forests are taken into account.

Many questions remain on how best to design these schemes. It is increasingly recognised that careful monitoring and field experiments can help answer critical design questions to ensure REDD+ schemes are effective, efficient and equitable, while delivering the co-benefits of livelihood improvement and biodiversity conservation. As more REDD+ projects become operational, it is increasingly clear that REDD+ interventions can lead to unintended consequences if trade-offs between the co-benefits exist.

This project was funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

This project seeks to integrate socio-economic characteristics into the design of a new REDD+ scheme aimed at improving livelihoods and conservation outcomes in and around the Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP) in Sierra Leone, which is part of the Upper Guinea Forest, a Biodiversity Hotspot that stretches from Guinea to Togo. In addition, to track developments in early stages we will monitor and evaluate the first year impacts of the scheme on livelihoods and (to a lesser degree) conservation outcomes. The project will constitute one of the first rigorous attempts to incorporate detailed socio-economic studies of recipient communities in an actual REDD+ scheme.

This collaboration builds on two previous CCI funded projects (see the links below) and further integrates the expertise of the project partners to deliver practical policy insights. The envisioned outputs will provide significant policy recommendations to the Gola Forest Programme (GFP) staff and Sierra Leone Government, and will provide a novel framework for future design and assessment of REDD+ projects in Sierra Leone as well as for other countries and contexts.

Related CCI projects working in Gola Forest:

  1. Methods for establishing baselines emission rates for REDD projects
  2. A framework for assessing livelihood impacts of forest conservation programmes

CCI partners Involved

The Department of Land Economy's core research in economics, law and planning focuses on policies and regulations for the management of land and natural resources. There is particular expertise in...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
The Department of Plant Sciences' research spans plant and microbial sciences. Conservation-related work in the department includes forest ecology and conservation, tropical ecology, mathematical...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...

Other Organisations Involved