This paper examines local views and experiences of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD ) in Nepal, using a mixed-method political ecology approach in three community forest user groups across Nepal's diverse forest ecoregions with varying levels of REDD experience. The study finds positive expectations of REDD to varying degrees, paired with key concerns arising throughout REDD implementation. In particular, forest products needed for livelihood practices cannot be fully replaced by monetary benefits of REDD for forest harvesting restrictions. Further, increased elite capture, corruption, and power shift away from the community through the alliance of local elites with external actors in response to increased upward accountability for carbon increments. The findings urge that REDD should scrutinize and mitigate local adverse effects on existing community governance, and its goals need to be carefully reconciled with the local non-monetary livelihood needs.
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Vol. 19 • No. 1