Trade-offs, co-benefits and safeguards: Current debates on the breadth of REDD+.

Visseren-Hamakers, I.J.; McDermott, C.; Vijge, M.J.; Cashore, B.


Fundamental trade-offs exist between different land uses for carbon, livelihoods, economic development, biodiversity, agriculture and energy (especially biofuels). This article analyses the scientific debates on REDD+ trade-offs, co-benefits and safeguards, and shows how the development and expanded scope of REDD+ mechanisms have shaped these debates over time. We find substantial evidence that the non-carbon values of biodiversity conservation, equity and sustainable livelihoods are critical to both the legitimacy and effectiveness of REDD+, and argue that they therefore are better viewed as prerequisites than as values to be safeguarded. Scientists can contribute to the development of a more integrative REDD+ through interdisciplinary research and through a ‘learning architecture’ that supports the REDD+ policy development process with research dedicated to finding durable solutions.