Securitizing REDD+? Problematizing the emerging illegal timber trade and forest carbon interface in East Africa uri icon

abstract

  • A rapidly growing literature interrogates the social and economic impacts of various Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) schemes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Less often, however, have scholars examined the necessary corollary of such initiatives; that is, both new and enhanced law enforcement initiatives to combat the global trade in illegal forest products and secure property rights to conserved forests. Drawing upon recent consultative experiences for relevant multinational agencies in East Africa, we critically analyze the emergent features of this additional 'dark side' of REDD+, highlighting in particular both its potential for 'leakage' effects on adjacent jurisdictions and deleterious implications for forest-dependent communities. Specifically, we highlight the ways in which such activities threaten to conflate illegal with informal trade in forest products; the ways in which they are potentially ill-suited for addressing the trade in charcoal as opposed to the trade in timber; and the incentives that they may provide for states to further marginalize indigenous forest-dwelling populations in the region. In doing so, we argue that this nascent synthesis of REDD+ and transnational law enforcement threatens to contribute significantly and regressively to the broader securitization of conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. (c) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2015
  • 2015