For those championing an international institutional solution to climate change, the forest-climate linkage through reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and forest enhancement (REDD+) may be one of the most promising strategic linkages to date. Following a series of forest-focused interventions that did not live up to their promise, global forest politics have now, through REDD+ deliberations, been institutionally subsumed into the climate regime. We argue that to realize its potential, REDD+ policy mechanisms must be careful to move away from the commodification of forest stewardship that reinforces short-term strategic positions of powerful producing and consuming interests whose current activities are the culprits of global forest decline. To achieve such an outcome, we argue that institutions must develop on the basis of a “logic of problem amelioration” in which the rationale for achieving clearly defined environmental and social goals is rendered transparent. This could be achieved through the formalization of a “dual effectiveness test” in which interventions are evaluated for their potential to simultaneously ameliorate both global climate change and forest degradation.

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Author notes

1. Author order is reverse alphabetical.