Revaluing Rainforests: The Political Ecology of Neoliberal Conservation

EPA Grant Number: FP917355
Title: Revaluing Rainforests: The Political Ecology of Neoliberal Conservation
Investigators: Miles, Wendy B
Institution: University of Hawaii at Manoa
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2014
Project Amount: $126,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Emerging Environmental Approaches and Challenges: Social Sciences


The objective of this research is to understand better the social ramifications of assigning economic value to forest ecosystem services. Through a case study of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Indonesia, this study questions how people’s forest perspectives are influenced by the commodification of carbon, to what extent forest-dependent communities are represented in REDD deliberations, and the potential socio-economic impacts of monetizing carbon on local people.


This study will conduct a multi-level analysis of a single REDD pilot project in Indonesia using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Data will be gathered to understand better the perspectives of forest-dependent communities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, private-sector businesses and international institutions that are involved in or impacted by the selected REDD project.

Expected Results:

The results of this research will help to understand how local, forest-dependent communities are impacted by REDD and if and how REDD and other “payments for environmental services” may be better designed to be more inclusive and locally beneficial while also being more effective at reducing deforestation.

Potential to Further Environmental / Human Health Protection

The ultimate aim of this project is for the perspectives of people personally involved in and impacted by REDD to be added to global discussions on how market-based conservation and climate change mitigation strategies can be improved in the future.

Supplemental Keywords:

Indonesia, forest-dependent communities, carbon sequestration, rainforest conservation, REDD

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2012
  • 2013
  • Final