Climate change and its possible detrimental effects are among the most widely debated issues of our time. Deforestation and forest degradation may account for nearly 20% of the global emissions. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)& has therefore been launched as a global framework. Efforts made by wealthier factions of the international community to initiate a system of payments to governments and local people in the South for not cutting trees, aim to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. What does this grand, global framework look like when implemented in different areas of the world? This thesis attempts to paint a picture of what REDD looks like on the ground in Zanzibar, drawing upon fieldwork conducted on Unguja Island, Zanzibar in East Africa.
My data is based both on a long-term village stay and constant contact and interaction with the implementers of the REDD pilot project HIMA Hifadhi ya Misitu ya Asili (Conservation of Natural Forests) - Piloting REDD in Zanzibar through Community Forest Management throughout my fieldwork. In this thesis I argue that there are aspects of the HIMA stakeholders characteristics and relationships which can provide possibilities for the accomplishment of the HIMA project and REDD in Zanzibar. That said, I believe lack of other sufficient income opportunities which could substitute the sale of forest products for the villagers, will make it hard to achieve a decrease in deforestation. If the business of forest products is in fact successfully limited it seems unlikely that villagers will be appropriately compensated, especially since the possible REDD money Zanzibar can attract through sales of carbon quotas is not expected to be substantial enough for money to be distributed to individuals.
In this thesis I am also concerned with how commercial logging is viewed by the implementers as a place-bound activity which happens in rural communities. I argue that not enough attention is being paid to urban demand for firewood and charcoal as well as other external factors. By following specific firewood all the way from the forest through the sale processes to end use as cooking fuel, I identify urban and rural people involved in the business. These local middle-men, drivers, and conductors could lose a substantial part of their income as a result of the HIMA project. Yet, they themselves are also integral to the success of the project. Thus, I believe they too should be considered stakeholders.