Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserving and enhancing forest carbon stocks, and sustainably managing forests (REDD+) are emerging as a central policy instrument to halt land-use related emissions from developing countries. In this article we introduce a special issue dedicated to understanding the governance and implementation dimensions of REDD+ at international, national and local levels. We use the earth system governance framework developed by Biermann et al. (2009) to illustrate the key governance issues underlying REDD+ and we highlight three main pillars for a future research agenda, namely (1) the politics of REDD+ in international and national negotiations; (2) the interplay between REDD+ policies and measures and other developments in land-use related processes; and (3) the examination of the environmental and socio-economic outcomes of REDD+ activities, integrating locally informed monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) techniques and using robust counterfactual assessment methods.
Keywords: Climate change; Institutions; Carbon; REDD+; Governance