Green and REDD? Towards a political ecology of deforestation in Aceh, Indonesia

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27 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) programme is poised to radically restructure forest management and politics. The programme will eventually provide $30 billion a year in grant and market finance to prevent carbon emissions caused by forest conversion in non-Annex 1 countries. As a consequence new carbon networks involving investment agencies, carbon traders, government departments and NGOs are forming to profit from the programme. This paper analyses the ongoing evolution of REDD from four perspectives drawn from political ecology – classic political ecology, eco-governmentality, eco-dependence, and environmental justice. I argue that both the dominant global managerialist perspective, that sees REDD as an apolitical technical and programmatic challenge, and the oppositional populist response, that sees REDD as a form of neo-liberal expansionism infringing on forest people’s rights, gloss over the importance of place. Drawing from the experiences of two advanced REDD pilot projects located in the Indonesian province of Aceh, I explore the particularities of place in shaping how REDD is unfolding. Rather than rejecting, or uncritically accepting, this new form of green neo-liberalism I argue for more contextualised responses that maximise the social and environmental gains that can be made, while also highlighting the negativities involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalHuman geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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