Reducing forest emissions in Southeast Asia: A review of drivers of land-use change and how payments for environmental services (PES) schemes can affect them


S. Wertz-Kanounnikoff

Type of Document:
Research Report


Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Bogor, Indonesia


Summary: Southeast Asia witnesses high rates of deforestation and forest degradation. Large-scale deforestation for agriculture (notably oil palm) is driven by international market demand. Small-scale deforestation is partly driven by: market opportunities for typical smallholder crops like rubber; land races to gain or secure property rights; and in marginalised, remote areas of the countries also by poverty and population growth. Forest degradation is primarily a consequence of logging activities, especially illegal logging, driven by high international demand for timber. Logging activities are concentrated in Papua New Guinea, but also occur in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Four case studies, one in Vietnam and three in Indonesia, were reviewed to derive lessons from regional PES experiences. Compared to other parts of the tropics, PES is still in its early stages in Southeast Asia, although the interest is growing. Most schemes are small pilot efforts, often still in the planning state and with few contracts yet in place. Part of the reason why PES remains nascent relates to the challenges encountered in the region: incomplete property rights, poverty considerations, weak governance structures, and high costs of PES implementation.

These regional circumstances suggest a dual strategy for REDD investments, where improvements in forest governance and in securing local land rights must go hand in hand with the development of performance-based incentive schemes. Specifically, this paper identifies the following messages:

1. Importance of performance-based incentive schemes with a focus on pro-poor aspects 2. Need for governance investments with a focus on land rights and law enforcement (Excerpt from Executive Summary)

Additional Bibliographic Information

Working Paper No. 41

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