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Climate change threatens ecosystems and human society, with tropical deforestation contributing a fifth of anthropogenic carbon emissions. The proposed REDD mechanism will provide compensation for tropical forest nations to reduce deforestation, and potentially also co-benefits for rural communities and biodiversity. The success of REDD implementation will be partially determined by domestic institutional conditions. These have not yet been well articulated, so we develop a systematic approach to assessing institutional capability for REDD implementation at both the local and national levels, based upon the definition of REDD as a payment for ecosystem services (PES). We demonstrate the utility of this framework using the case study of Indonesia and a protected area within it (Nantu). We find that many of the institutional requirements for REDD cannot currently be met on the national level. Yet at the local level, the existence of an ongoing conservation project has strengthened the institutional framework within which REDD could operate, leading to a more positive outlook. We suggest that our analytical framework could be helpful in highlighting the institutional issues that could impede the implementation of REDD across scales and thus be a useful tool in improving the viability of this crucial strategy. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Environmental Science and Policy

Publication Date





709 - 718