The forest for the trees
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In the Southern Mexican State of Chiapas, plans to implement an environmental policy known as REDD+ could provide sustainable development opportunities to indigenous and forest dwelling communities by compensating them for preventing deforestation. At the same time, REDD+ (which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) hopes to provide a market-based solution to combat global climate change. But detractors of REDD+, including indigenous groups like the Zapatistas argue that the policy is in conflict with indigenous peoples’ rights of self determination and pulls communities into capitalist social relations. In a world that increasingly needs solutions to combat global climate change, is REDD+ a saving grace, or is it doomed to failure?