University of Leicester
2017ISYAKUUPhD.pdf (5.07 MB)

Beyond Policy Design: REDD+ Implementation and Institutional Complexities of Environmental Governance in Cross River State, Nigeria

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posted on 2017-09-11, 13:48 authored by Usman Isyaku
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus enhancement of forest carbon stock (REDD+) was designed and negotiated at the post-Kyoto climate conventions as an efficient and cost-effective climate change mitigation policy. The primary focus is to introduce incentive-based forest conservation initiatives for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation in forest-rich countries in order to achieve ‘win-win’ conservation and development objectives. Within the REDD+ governance framework, carbon is to be captured, commodified, measured, and traded on the market by a diverse set of actors under various bilateral and multilateral arrangements. This thesis contributes to the environmental governance literature by making complexities embedded in REDD+ design and implementation legible. This is achieved by drawing on critical institutionalism theory and geographical concept of place to examine how place-based values, motivations, emotions and institutional bricolage practices are shaping REDD+ implementation and forest governance in Cross River State, Nigeria. It also contributes to the debates about mainstream institutionalists’ assumptions that human behaviour is rational, self-seeking and so collective action can be influenced by crafting institutions in order to direct policy outcomes. Multi-method approach to data collection and analysis consisting of interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, manual coding, social network analysis, and Q-methodology were used for the study. Results show that the REDD+ process in Nigeria is characterised by unequal power relationships among the stakeholders which is causing legitimacy, equity and justice concerns. It was discovered that the forest communities in the study areas are complex entities that are responding to REDD+ and other bureaucratic forest related policies such as the proposed superhighway project differently through institutional bricolage practices. It is argued that applying uniform forest governance policies for all the communities would continue to produce unexpected outcomes in the study areas. This is because the communities have different motivations for collective action. Such motivations consist of an intricate blend of economic, emotional and moral rationalities and values which are embedded in communities’ distinct histories and social interactions. It is suggested that institutions of forest governance should be place-based and could be pieced together through formal and informal bricolage practices rather than introduced externally. This approach is particularly relevant for development interventions involving communities that still hold intrinsic motivations for environmental conservation.



Upton, Caroline; Phillips, Martin; Dickinson, Jen

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Geography

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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