Swidden, Rubber and Carbon: Can REDD+ work for people and the environment in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia

Swidden (also called shifting cultivation) has long been the dominant farming system in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia (MMSEA). Today the ecological bounty of this region is threatened by the expansion of settled agriculture, including the proliferation of rubber plantations. In the current conception of REDD+, landscapes involving swidden qualify almost automatically for replacement by other land-use systems because swiddens are perceived to be degraded and inefficient with regard to carbon sequestration. However, swiddening in some cases may be carbon-neutral or even carbon positive, compared with some other types of land-use systems. This paper describes how agricultural policies and institutions have affected land use in the region over the last several decades and the impact these policies have had on the livelihoods of swiddeners and other smallholders. It explores whether incentivizing transitions away from swiddening to the cultivation of rubber will directly or reliably produce carbon gains. The authors argue that because government policies affect how land is used, they also influence carbon emissions, farmer livelihoods, environmental services, and a host of other variables. A deeper and more systematic analysis of the multiple consequences of these policies is consequently necessary for the design of successful REDD+ policies in MMSEA, and other areas of the developing world. REDD + policies should be structured not so much to 'hold the forest boundary' but to influence the types of land-use changes that are occurring so that they support both sustainable livelihoods and environmental services, including (but not limited to) carbon.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
Topics
  • Agriculture
  • Climate change
  • Food security
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Cambodia
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Viet Nam
Copyright Yes
Access and use constraints

This Working Paper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – NonCommercial–NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Articles appearing in this publication may be freely quoted and reproduced provided the source is acknowledged. No use of this publication may be made for resale or other commercial purposes. © 2011 CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) 2011 CCAFS Working Paper no. 9

Version / Edition 1
License CC-BY-3.0-IGO
Contact

CCAFS Coordinating Unit - Department of Agriculture and Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. Tel: +45 35331046; Email: ccafs@life.ku.dk

Author (individual) Jefferson Fox
Co-author (individual) Jean-Christophe Castella, Alan D. Ziegler
Publisher CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
Publication date 2011
Pagination 36
Keywords REDD+,swidden,Mainland Southeast Asia,livelihoods,carbon
Date uploaded February 13, 2018, 18:35 (UTC)
Date modified February 13, 2018, 20:32 (UTC)