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The pluriversality of efforts to reduce deforestation in Brazil over the past decade

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Brazil offers a complex and unique example of tropical landscapes. The country has considerably decreased deforestation since 2004, but Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is arguably under question, both as a concept and as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as deforestation levels have increased over the last five years. This article investigates how different policy actors have perceived REDD+ over time, how they have engaged in REDD+ efforts over the past decade, and how REDD+ implementation in Brazil should move forward accordingly. We analyzed qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and actors’ “stances”, i.e., their positions—with regards to key issues connected to REDD+ governance and its challenges—over three different time periods (Phase 1: 2010–2011, Phase 2: 2015–2016, and Phase 3: 2019), so as to identify the practical implications of these diverse interpretations. We argue that the way actors perceive REDD+ is intimately related to the way they interpret and assign meanings towards it and, in consequence, the way they coordinate REDD+-related practices and efforts. We focus on the link between perceptions and efforts so as to comprehend the relevance that different interpretations have to both the concept and implementation of REDD+ in Brazil. Our analysis concentrates on the potential to improve the coordination and integration of REDD+ implementation and diverse actors’ efforts with regards to REDD+ activities. Results suggest that actors’ perceptions of REDD+ generated a plurality of meanings, highlighting a range of dialectical and ontological interactions that have, in turn, resulted in multiple REDD+ interpretations. Findings highlight that different actors have the same interests when it comes to their organizational efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, suggesting that there is room for a better coordination of efforts towards this end, as well as increased collaboration.

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