What Is a "Community Perception" of REDD+? A Systematic Review of How Perceptions of REDD+ Have Been Elicited and Reported in the Literature.
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Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is expected to generate co-benefits and safeguard the interests of people who live in the forested regions where emissions are reduced. Participatory measurement, reporting and verification (PMRV) is one way to ensure that the interests of local people are represented in REDD+. In order to design and use PMRV systems to monitor co-benefits and safeguards, we need to obtain input on how local people perceive REDD+. In the literature, this is widely discussed as “community perceptions of REDD+.” We systematically reviewed this literature to understand how these perceptions have been assessed, focusing specifically on how individual perceptions have been sampled and aggregated into “community perceptions.” Using Google Scholar, we identified 19 publications that reported community perceptions of REDD+, including perceptions of its design, implementation, impacts, relationship with land tenure, and both interest and actual participation by local people. These perceptions were elicited through surveys of probability samples of the local population and interviews with purposively selected community representatives. Many authors did not provide sufficient information on their methods to interpret the reported community perceptions. For example, there was often insufficient detail on the selection of respondents or sampling methods. Authors also reported perceptions by unquantified magnitudes (e.g., “most people”, “the majority”) that were difficult to assess or compare across cases. Given this situation in the scholarly literature, we expect that there are even more severe problems in the voluminous gray literature on REDD+ not indexed by Google Scholar. We suggest that readers need to be cognizant of these issues and that publication outlets should establish guidelines for better reporting, requiring information on the reference population, sampling methods, and methods used to aggregate individual responses into “community perceptions.”
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