Impact of Forest Carbon Sequestration Initiative on Community Assets: The Case of Assisted Natural Regeneration Project in Humbo, Southwestern Ethiopia

by Padmanaban Murugan & Fedaku Israel

Abstract

This study was aimed at unveiling the impact of a forest carbon sequestration initiative on community level livelihood assets by examining the case of local communities involved in the management of a restored forest in Humbo district of Southwestern Ethiopia. A triangulation of key informant interviews, focus group discussions, non-participant observations, and in-depth interviews were employed to gather the required data. Findings of the study reveal that at the community level, the project achieved positive outcomes such as the formation of Forest Development and Protection Cooperatives (FDPCs) and strengthening their local leadership capacity, building some physical assets though some of them were not in line with the priority needs of the stakeholder local communities, improved microclimatic conditions, and increased savings of FDPCs. On the other hand, the weakening of certain long existed informal institutions for joint ownership of livestock (Kottaa), share breeding of livestock (UloKottaa), and the exchange of farm oxen (BooraaGatuwaa) were worth mentioning as negative outcomes associated with the project. Therefore, letting the community decide over what to do with the carbon revenue in general and which community level assets to build in particular are likely to meet the priority needs of the concerned communities, enhance the sense of ownership of the forest among the members of the communities, and thereby contribute to the sustainability of forest management and carbon sequestration. Moreover, social impact assessments need to be exhaustively conducted during the replication of similar projects in order to anticipate their possible dysfunctions and thereby to save the long existing informal social institutions of target communities.

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Padmanabhan Murugan, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology Addis Ababa University whose specialization includes the sociology of health, gender, poverty and HIV, migration, and rural livelihoods. His most recent work was on human trafficking in Ethiopia, which focused on factors contributing to human trafficking and the context of vulnerability and patterns of victimization.
Fekadu Israel, Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia who works on poverty, food security, migration, rural livelihood, and other related issues.