REDD+: The new regime to enhance or reduce equity in environmental governance?

Research summary

The main innovation of this research project is to approach and analyse REDD+ not only as a climate change mitigation measure, but as a new environmental governance mechanism that can lead to major changes in the forest governance and through it, distribution of benefits, costs, risks and opportunities of land use and forest management between the actors and groups involved. The main interest in this research is on how the notion of responsive forest governance is addressed in the processes. In this case,the responsive forest governance is concerned with issues of negotiation power, participation in planning and implementation of REDD+ and allocation of costs and benefits among the stakeholders and groups involved. The research results are expected to assist in designing socially equitable and environmentally appropriate options for REDD+ and further developing selected approaches to sustainable forestry that can help to achieve the goals of REDD+. Internationally, this proposed research could contribute significantly to policy-relevant research and empirical knowledge as well as theoretical debates on the nexus of social, economic and environmental sustainability and responsive and deliberative forest governance in developing world.


Our current findings and publications represent the starting point to understand the key concepts of responsive natural resources governance in each country context in relation to REDD+ and participatory forest management interventions. This context-specific understanding will be the base for the next part of our field studies and analysis carried out during 2015-2018. This final study period concerns development of a theory which could provide analytical tools to study the complex interactions and deliberation between different governance actors in relation to responsive natural resources governance. This theory is crucially important in the emerging global discourses. Our research aim to enable us to gather the empirical evidence from the grassroots and bring this up to feed the globally emerging discourse and policies. This would result in specific conceptual framework and analytical tools which would enable to study the deliberation and multilevel governance practices in relation natural resources.
Example of publications:
Mustalahti, I. and Rakotonarivo, S. O. 2014. REDD+ and Empowered Deliberative Democracy: Learning from Tanzania. World Development 59:199-211.

Rantala, S., Hajjar, R. and Skutsch, M. 2014. Multilevel Governance for Forests and Climate Change: Learning from Southern Mexico. Forests 2014, 5(12), 3147-3168; doi:10.3390/f5123147

Rantala, S. and Di Gregorio, M. 2014. Multistakeholder environmental governance in action: REDD+ discourse coalitions in Tanzania. Ecology and Society 19(2): 66.

Rantala, S., Kontinen, T., Korhonen-Kurki, K., and Mustalahti, I. 2015. Equity in REDD+: varying logics in Tanzania. Environmental Policy and Governance.DOI:101002/eet.1669

Scheba, A. and Mustalahti, I. 2015. Rethinking ‘expert’ knowledge in community forest management in Tanzania. Forest Policy and Economics.

Research info

Research title
REDD+: The new regime to enhance or reduce equity in environmental governance?

Research timeline
1.8.2012 - 1.7.2018

climate change adaptation and mitigation empowered deliberative governance environmental governace participatory forest management REDD+ responsive natural resources governance sustainable development

Africa Asia Latin America

Finland, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mexico, Nepal, Tanzania, United Republic Of

University of Eastern Finland
Department of Geographical and Historical Studies
Joensuu, Finland

Head of research
Irmeli Mustalahti

Research team
Irmeli Mustalahti, PI Salla Rantala ja Melis Ece (2012-2013), Post doc researchers Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen (2015-2018), Post doc researcher Daniel Hinojosa Flores, PhD student (on-going) Bishnu Devkota, PhD student (on-going) Maija Hyle, PhD student (on-going) Dipjoy Chakma, PhD student (on-going, externally funded) Mathias Cramm, research assistant (periodical) Phetsamone Soulivong, research assistant (periodical)

Core partners from the case study countries: University of Dar es Salaam – Principal Bernadeta Killian, Mkwawa University College, Tanzania University of Savannakhet – Dean from Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Dr Bounheuang Ninchaleune, Laos National University of Mexico – Senior investigator, Dr. Margaret Skutsch, Mexico University of Pokhara – Professor of Forestry, Santosh Rayamajhi, Nepal Main research co-operators at VITRI, University of Helsinki: Professor Markku Kanninen, the senior research adviser International research co-operators: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) – Dr. Maria Brockhaus, Indonesia University of Illinois – Professor Jesse Ribot, USA

Contact information
Irmeli Mustalahti
Open link

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