Lessons learned from community forestry in Latin America and their relevance for REDD+

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) success at storing atmospheric carbon in forests in Latin America depends on the long-term maintenance of forests. Forest maintenance in Latin America in turn largely depends on community forestry – the direct control and management of forests by men and women in campesino, caboclo, ribereño, criollo, Afro-descendent and indigenous communities. The REDD+ mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) under the UNFCCC is also tasked with social benefits, and, like community forestry, is challenged to "integrate outcomes of ecological sustainability, social equity, and economic efficiency in which objectives for long-term use of the resources are well defined so that expectations of [communities] and the society at large remain consistent" (Pagdee and Daugherty 2006: 33). REDD+ and community forestry are social and political processes whose success is measured by the quality, presence and absence of forest.