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CDM forest carbon sequestration projects in western China: An analysis using actor-centered power theory

Feng Ba, Jinlong Liu, Ting Zhu, Yonggong Liu and Jiacheng Zhao

Forest Policy and Economics, 2020, vol. 115, issue C

Abstract: Forest carbon sequestration projects (FCSPs) were implemented as flexible emission trading mechanisms via the clean development mechanism (CDM). The CDM has successfully produced certified emission reductions (CERs); however, the sustainable development outcomes of CDM projects especially their socio-economic impacts on communities have been widely debated. This study introduces the implementation process for CDM FCSPs in China. We employ actor-centered power (ACP) theory as our main analytical framework to analyze the power process between actors and how this alters project outcomes. The results of our analysis demonstrate that the Provincial Forestry and Grassland Bureau, the County Forestry and Grassland Bureau, village cadres, and rural households were all powerful actors during the implementation process. Each actor had different power sources and influenced the behavior of other actors, which altered project outcomes at different stages. The village cadre was the most powerful actor, had the most complicated power sources, and altered project implementation the most. This study suggests that stakeholder consultation and community participation should be a requirement during the entire project cycle, but particularly in the project-design phase, in order to improve CDM forest carbon sequestration projects and better achieve their sustainable development targets.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2020.102139

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