This article investigates the public discourses on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) across seven countries, to assess whether they support policy reforms. We argue that transformational discourses have at least one of these characteristics: they advocate specific policy reforms that address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; take into account the potential risks of a REDD+ mechanism; go beyond technocratic solutions to reduce emissions; and explicitly challenge existing power relations that support drivers of deforestation. The evidence indicates the predominance of win-win storylines, a lack of engagement by state actors with debates on the potential negative socioeconomic outcomes of REDD+, and little attention to the drivers of deforestation. The article concludes that to achieve a shift toward transformational public discourse, reformist policy actors and the media need to engage dominant policy actors in debates about how to reduce pressure on the forest.

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