In Mexico, REDD is being presented as a win-win policy enabling forest communities to benefit financially and diversify their income sources while preserving and increasing their forest carbon stocks through more sustainable management. Under the national programme, it is expected that forest communities will have opportunities to tailor their own approaches. However, to date there is little understanding about what opportunities and constraints exist in reality for forest communities to contribute to REDD , and even less about how their members perceive these opportunities. We assess potential and constraints at community level and investigate perceptions about opportunities in REDD and strategies that communities are currently envisaging for participation, in seven communities in the Ayuquila River Basin and around the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve in Jalisco, and in the area surrounding the Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Michoacan. We find that there is more opportunity for reduced degradation and forest enhancement than for reduced deforestation, in all the communities; that it may be difficult to establish additionality for REDD activities in some communities; that the amount of forest resource per community may greatly affect the potential to participate; that the presence of people with no land rights may complicate the distribution of benefits; that communities expect REDD in general to follow the Payment for Environmental Services model, and that lack of information about what activities may count as REDD activities and what level of financial rewards may be expected mean that communities cannot at present adequately appraise whether REDD will be worth their while or not.
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Vol. 17 • No. s1