BOGOR, Indonesia (6 January 2012)__ Reporting research results to villages where REDD+ studies are being conducted is helping to foster relationships crucial to the future of the projects and allowing local stakeholders to validate the study findings, said a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
“We were able to see already how many changes had occurred at the project sites that weren’t related to REDD,” said Amy Duchelle, CIFOR’s field coordinator for the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ in Brazil. Sub-national governments, NGOs and other organisations running REDD+ demonstration projects found the early results useful in improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and equitability in theirs and potential new REDD+ projects.
Villagers were happily surprised that the researchers returned as promised to present the findings of the baseline study, taken to record the conditions before the REDD+ projects started. “I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘researchers never come back’, you’re the first group that’s come back, so thank you so much,” said Duchelle, who recently led the team of researchers back into the forest to deliver early results of the household and village survey.
Lack of money, time and accessibility to remote areas often hampers scientist’s ability to return to research sites to report on the research or deliver any discoveries made to the people involved in the study.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is an international mechanism to slow climate change, where rich countries pay developing nations that protect forests and the carbon stored there. CIFOR is conducting research in 22 REDD+ sites in Indonesia, Brazil, Tanzania, Peru, Cameroon and Vietnam, providing assistance for this first tide of REDD+ activities and give guidance to policy makers in the scheme’s next phase.
The villagers found particularly interesting the quantified information about themselves on household cash and subsistence income from a variety of land uses. “It highlighted for people from where and which activities they’re gaining the majority of their income” says Duchelle.
CIFOR’s team gave a report with a lot of the baseline findings specific to the village and made a big presentation at a village meeting. One community playfully scorned a CIFOR researcher when she arrived back in the area in the Brazilian Amazon a year later, saying “ah you came back… but you are a week late,” Duchelle said. They had been counting the days for the teams to return with the results.
Duchelle believes that these kinds of efforts are crucial for researchers to try and disseminate results to different stakeholders outside and in addition to the normal pathways for scientific knowledge like the peer-reviewed publication.
“There are researchers who do this, we are not the first group,” she said. “We need to keep going that way and changing that paradigm so that actually the exception to the rule is the researcher who doesn’t go back to the field site.”