Community forestry, REDD+ pilot project, power, and corruption : a case study of Ludikhola watershed in Gorkha District, Nepal
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REDD integrates conservation, sustainable management of forest and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, emerged though a global partnership under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Ludikhola watershed in Gorkha district, Nepal, is selected for this research where REDD+ pilot project was carried out from 2010 to 2013. The dynamic relationship between actors, knowledge, power, corruption and policy at the micro level and the reciprocal effects of these relationships on gender, class and caste has been investigated in REDD+. The objectives of the study were; to analyze the community forestry as a resource regime and investigate the empirical aspect of REDD+ through governance policies, to evaluate how powerful actors exercise their power in the introduction and implementation of REDD+ in CF and to study how corruption occurred in the REDD+ pilot project. Three CFUGs were selected for the household survey. The findings showed that the CF is a place where different actors exercise their power to influence decisions regarding forest management. In the REDD+ pilot project, main goals of maintaining and enhancing biodiversity were not met; there were a lack of distribution of benefits and information to different groups of local people. 69% of the total respondents say that powerful actors did not take account of their voice during the formation of rules and regulations. The community forestry was not properly conducted in levels of a participatory mechanism; it is more functioning through key actor´s interests. A significant relationship between corruption and powerful actors was found; the test also showed that higher castes and government officials have the significant relationship with corruption in community forestry. 47% thought that there was fraud monitoring and reporting, 42% embezzlement and 11% bribing. It is realized that much of the existing policy frameworks in community forestry needs to be revised to create a facilitating environment for REDD+ and there is a great need of improved agricultural practices and providences of the option for other livelihood diversification to reduce the forest dependency. Although, its ability to reduce net-carbon emissions, control leakage and increase local benefits through a national REDD+ policy may seem difficult to accomplish. Globally, there are no acknowledged motivations connected to the REDD+ policy, besides the obvious interest in limiting climate change.