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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 657846, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/657846
Research Article

Diversity of Perceptions on REDD+ Implementation at the Agriculture Frontier in Panama

1Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Doctor Penfield Avenue, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1
2Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Apartado 0843-03092, Balboa, Ancon, Panama
3Centre D'étude de la Forêt, Case Postale 8888, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 3P8
4Faculté de Foresterie, de Géographie et de Géomatique, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada G1K 7P4

Received 30 July 2012; Accepted 21 December 2012

Academic Editor: Damase Khasa

Copyright © 2013 Guillaume Peterson St-Laurent et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Colonist farmers have been largely ignored to date in national consultations on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Yet, good practices suggest that understanding all relevant stakeholders’ perspectives, goals, and issues is a precondition for the development of successful environmental policies. The present research documents perceptions of the civil society and the government on the possibility of successfully implementing REDD+ activities with colonist farmers. The focus is on Eastern Panama. The perceptions on REDD+ vary greatly depending on the stakeholders’ origins. The government perceives REDD+ as a possibility for improving laws, increasing control over the national territory, and investing more resources for conservation and public institutions, whereas respondents from colonist backgrounds mostly insist on the potential economic benefits and/or the negative implications that could encompass REDD+. Noncolonist participants from regional, national, and international organizations instead try to balance concerns of communities and conservation objectives. Because one of our results highlighted the difficulty of colonist farmers in speaking as a united voice, we carried out a case study of a successful colonists association in order to identify the characteristics and practices found to facilitate communal organization.