[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent rises in levels of tropical deforestation across the Peruvian Amazon, along with the country's interest in pursuing a reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) agenda, raise important questions regarding levels of forest governance and institutional capacity in the region. This research adopts a political ecology approach to examine forest governance in Peru's Central Selva region. Semi-structured key informant interviews were carried out in Lima, Oxapampa, and communities across the western buffer zone of the Yanachaga-Chemillen National Park. The region's history highlights the nature of the exploitative activities which lead to the present institutional and floristic conditions, while a geopolitical dichotomy has played an important role in preventing the formation of a common vision for regional development. The state authorities are found to be critically under-capacitated for their remit, while NGO efforts in the area appear disperse and uncoordinated. National market forces, along with national Amazonian settlement policy, are found to have the greatest influence on land use. The relative lack of state presence, inappropriate institutions, and extractive economy suggest that the region is currently institutionally unequipped to undertake and govern a REDD initiative. Through studies like the one presented here it is possible to gain a thorough understanding of local governance workings to ground and contextualize REDD in local realities.
Journal of Sustainable Forestry 06/2012; 31(4-5):421-444.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mechanisms to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) have emerged as cost effective strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which can contribute to the sustainable development of tropical developing countries. One of the central challenges facing REDD is the development of appropriate governance institutions. Taking an agency-centred political ecology approach, this paper elucidates the differential identities, roles and agencies of state and non-state actors governing land use in two national parks and their buffer zones in the Peruvian Amazon. This research adopts a comparative approach, taking the case studies of Yanachaga-Chemillen and Manu National Parks and their buffer zones. The focus on agency facilitates an understanding of how local-scale forms of governance are driving land use outcomes, and identifies institutional and organisational strengths and weaknesses which could be and targeted through REDD mechanisms. Geographical, social and economic factors are found to have created parallels, disparities and nuances in the local-level agencies of state and non-state actors at the two sites. The centralised nature of the country has led to a lack of knowledge of Amazonia, while disorganised decentralisation efforts have reduced the agencies of regional governments. Pressing social and economic issues have largely sidelined land use concerns, while the underfunding and understaffing of protected areas authorities, as well as their lack of long-term leadership and legal agency means that they are unable to achieve their institutional objectives. Severely debilitated forestry and agrarian authorities are overwhelmed with responsibilities and minimally staffed. NGOs are found to be out of touch with local needs and realities, creating to a jaded feeling towards NGOs in YChNP, but a much stronger feeling of resentment among the population around MNP. High-agency ecotourism operators in Manu have ensured the conservation of forests on the western flank of the Alto Madre de Dios River; while the settlements surrounding YChNP attract a cultural tourism from Lima. Market-driven extractive actors are found to have high agencies. Ten policy recommendations are given for REDD actions at the two sites; however the local-scale nuances illustrate the need for individualised approaches to addressing land use governance under REDD.