Forest resources have continued to play a significant role in the livelihood system of rural communities and the ongoing fight against climate change. Consequently, several efforts have been made to preserve forest resources and strengthen sustainable forest resource management. One of such efforts is the REDD+ program – an incentive-based and demand-driven approach to promote forest protection and enhancement of standing forest stocks in developing countries. This chapter examines how Nigeria’s forest governance and land-use system, forest resource use, and forest management practices can affect the successful implementation of the REDD+ program. Drawing from an empirical survey of four hundred and fifty rural households across different ecological zones in Nigeria, the paper identified the level of dependence of rural households on forest resources for livelihood sustenance, different governance practices such as property rights and access, and management practices such as shifting cultivation and discussed the implications of these for REDD+ implementation. The paper also examined the potentialities of the REDD+ program to guarantee the protection of the rights of forest dwellers. It questions whether REDD+ is serving the interest of the developed or developing countries, the rich or the poor. It is argued that successful implementation of the REDD+ program in rural West Africa will depend on its ability to support the livelihoods, indigenous rights, and preservation of cultural/religious values of the forest target communities. Without such considerations, such a scheme will not promote substantial forest management and improved carbon storage in tropical ecosystems. Furthermore, agroforestry, due to its widespread practice as a climate change adaptation option, was recommended as a compromise between forest livelihood objectives and forest conservation objectives.
Sustainability Livelihood Agroforestry Forest dependence Rural Climate change Indigenous REDD+
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