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POLICY BRIEF: Drivers of Deforestation and REDD+ – Can REDD+ Compete?

The expected growth of the human population to over 9 billion people by the middle of this century is guaranteed to increase pressure on the world’s food supply. Over the past 50 years, the world has seen consumption of grain, beef, and mutton nearly triple. Adding to the pressure generated by population growth, changes in diet will place heavy pressure on global food production systems – and forestland – to meet demand. Meat production is heavily resource-intensive and requires up to 10 times the quantity of resources (land, energy, and water) that is needed to produce equivalent amounts of non-meat food.

In addition to its effects on the environment, meat consumption also has serious social and economic consequences. While several hundred million people do not have sufficient food, 40% of the world’s grain supply is fed to livestock. Meanwhile, meat consumption is increasing and opportunity costs make extensive raising of livestock and grain production to feed livestock profitable, forests will be under increased pressure to give way to competing land use demands, and REDD+ must be able to compete.

This review, Drivers of Deforestation and REDD+—Can REDD+ Compete? asks what opportunity costs mean in the context of REDD+ and what are the implications for local communities? It considers how, to tackle deforestation in a socially equitable way, we must consider what the drivers of deforestation are and what incentives and livelihood opportunities accompany them. The paper is part of the CDKN-funded project REDD-net Asia: Dialogue with governments and civil society organisations in Asia and the Pacific, which promotes dialogue and collaboration between decision-makers and civil society stakeholders in the region. It is doing this through the publication of regional bulletins, case studies and expert reports, as well as facilitating and supporting attendance at national and regional workshops and events, for example, on writing and disseminating case studies and briefs aimed at national and regional policy-makers on the theme of REDD+ and community-based adaptation.

Further reading:

Project homepage: REDD-net Asia: Dialogue with governments and civil society organisations in Asia and the Pacific