The Fairness of Forests: A Case Study of the Rio Bravo Carbon Sequestration Pilot Project Belize, Central America
Parker, Elise L.
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Carbon Sequestration forestry projects generate heated debate among negotiators of global climate change policy. Advocates of carbon sequestration see these projects as a remedy to the problems of global climate change, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development. Opponents criticize carbon sequestration projects on technical, environmental, political, and economic grounds. One particularly serious criticism is that carbon sequestration projects are a form of Carbon Colonialism. This research weighs the charge of carbon colonialism against the Rio Bravo Carbon Sequestration project in Belize, Central America. A review of the design and implementation of the Rio Bravo project shows that the project has successfully addressed key equity concerns including maintaining national and local sovereignty. Key to the project's success is that it has official support of the Belizean government and it is being implemented by a strong Belizean non-profit organization that has a well established and positive relationship both with the government and with communities in the area of the project. Furthermore, the project does not interfere with, and may in fact enhance, Belize's national development priorities via its emphasis on sustainable forestry practices. The success of Rio Bravo is positive experience for carbon sequestration, though concern over the likelihood that future carbon sequestration projects will maintain the same high standards begs a question: Is Rio Bravo a model or an unattainable ideal?