Offsetting benefits? Analyzing access to forest carbon

Esteve Corbera, Katrina Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Emissions trading has created new forms of exchangeable property which become commodities when traded in markets designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and mitigate climate change. This paper analyzes a set of social processes which influence who benefits from reductions in emissions generated by primary production from forest ecosystems. Informed by commodification literature, and property and access theory, we suggest that farmers and rural communities cannot derive full benefits from carbon sequestration because they lack key structural and relational mechanisms, such as capital, knowledge, expertise, technology, and, in some cases, even labour. We illustrate this argument by examining three ongoing carbon-forestry projects in China, Ecuador, and Mexico and we highlight its implications for future forestry mitigation projects and programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1739-1761
Number of pages23
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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