An urgent need to stop degradation is frequently cited as support for climate mitigation efforts involving forests. However, lessons learnt from social science research on degradation narratives are not taken into consideration. This creates a risk of problematic degradation narratives being used to legitimise forest carbon projects. This study examined a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) forest plantation in Uganda, where incomplete and partly contradictory evidence on land use change was interpreted in a way that overemphasised degradation. This interpretation was in line with the interests of the forestry company proposing the CDM activity and with national interests in Uganda, and was stimulated by CDM guidelines and regulations. Our investigation revealed a more complex picture of land cover change in the area that did not support the narrative of an area undergoing continuous degradation. We therefore recommend that close scrutiny of the degradation narrative presented be included in every type of forest carbon project.
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Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.
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