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Deforestation diagnostics: Archetypes of deforestation and policies to reduce deforestation

Deforestation diagnostics: Archetypes of deforestation and policies to reduce deforestation

29 – 30 March 2023, 9:00am - 4:30pm CEST
Stiftung Großes Waisenhaus zu Potsdam, Breite Str. 9A, 14467 Potsdam and online

Background and objectives:

The mantra ‘Context matters!’ has been repeatedly stated for why the impact of forest conservation policies varies greatly across locations. Reviews of impact evaluations highlight how context affects policy impacts (Wunder et al. 2020), yet there is no synthesis of what factors hinder or improve the impacts of conservation policies, i.e., how impact depends on context. CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS REDD+) is currently developing and operationalizing a diagnostics approach to address the key question: which policy measures are likely to work where to reduce deforestation, and why?

The deforestation diagnostics approach aims to provide a sweet spot between “sweeping generalizations” and “an endless stream of unique descriptive case studies” (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012, 9). It aims to find “middle-range theories” of land use change, which are contextual generalizations describing chains of causal mechanisms that explain a well bounded range of phenomena (Meyfroidt et al. 2018, 53).

The diagnostics approach consists of three main elements. First, a set of stylized deforestation contexts, also called ‘deforestation archetypes’ are built based on a set of ‘diagnostic’ variables. The diagnostic variables describe the critical elements that are most likely to affect policy impacts and outcomes, such as: source and agents of deforestation, land tenure regimes, or landscape characteristics. Second, the set of policies and measures that are relevant for addressing deforestation are identified. Once the respective deforestation archetypes and the set of relevant policies are identified, the “what is likely to work where?” question is addressed by using the available evidence about context-dependent policy impact.

The first part of the workshop will consist of presenting and discussing the most recent developments and findings of the GCS-REDD+ CIFOR’s research on how to define and identify different contexts of deforestation and the policies used to address it. The study involves new analyses of satellite data at the global level to build archetypes of deforestation, as well as an analysis of the main forest policies used to address drivers of deforestation. The workshop will be an opportunity to share research findings and knowledge with scientific experts based at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The second part of the workshop will consist of a discussion about how to apply the progress made at the global level to the regional and/or the local level. We will select 3-4 key case studies in each of the rainforest countries where CIFOR-ICRAF is conducting research: Brazil, Indonesia, DRC, and Peru. The case studies can be selected considering the diversity of actors of deforestation, the policies applied to reduce deforestation, and different deforestation trends. Finally, we will discuss and define the appropriate communication channels for the deforestation diagnostics work and discuss future research and funding opportunities.