Sustaining Local Livelihoods through Carbon Sequestration Activities:
A search for practical and strategic approach
Daniel Murdiyarso

Climate change with human face

Sustainable livelihoods
The central question around project development is how forest-dependent people could benefit from LULUCF projects either in protected or managed forests? In many protected areas human settlements are often seen as a threat to the projects, whereas in large-scale plantation projects their participation is often neglected. At the onset of project development, human dimensions could initially be identified and introduced. The project design could involve a wide range of stakeholders, including local community members along with other existing institutions. At the same time, project development standards could require such arrangements prior to certifi cation for the promotion to potential investors. The case study of a large-scale pulpwood plantation in Riau province, Indonesia indicates that the project has negative impacts on local livelihoods.The plantation project with its climate change component is not compatible with the local people’s current practice of shifting cultivation.

Climate change with human face

The value of the project is extraordinarily low for locals (less than $0.5/ha/month). The project has reduced biodiversity and decreased agricultural productivity in nearby villages, and even resulted in farmers’ land being expropriated. In short, involving local people in such a project is like a poverty trap. Two contrasting experiences are found in Mexico, where small-scale family-led reforestation was compared with communally-led reforestation. It was demonstrated that reducing poverty is not alone a matter of increasing levels of income.

People’s participation, legitimacy and knowledge are key issues. In this case, the project’s legitimacy was more contested in family-led communities because poor households are not well-represented and cannot participate in formal local institutions. In order to secure rural livelihoods, it is important to identify a project’s expected outputs starting with the feasibility studies.Rural organizations can play an effective role in building legitimacy but they are not always inclusive of all local people. Local political and resource dynamics need to be carefully observed. Enhancing communication and dialogue is crucial. It is also critical to develop effective arrangements with national institutions and complement carbon activities with other projects since carbon demand is low. Other collateral benefits, such as biodiversity conservation, watershed protection may also be identified.

Climate change with human face Climate change with human face

Source: Proceedings of Workshop on Carbon Sequestration and Sustainable Livelihoods
Editors : Daniel Murdiyarso & Hety Herawati

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