Given the longitudinal nature of the GCS project, Module 2 has documented the evolution of subnational REDD+ initiatives. Early studies were conducted to characterize and understand the wider world in which REDD+ projects and programs operate, as well as to understand the possibilities for REDD+ success against the backdrop of preceding efforts to stop tropical deforestation. See in particular Sills et al. (2009), Wertz-Kanounnikoff et al. (2009), Madeira et al. (2010), Lin et al. (2012), and Lin (2012). For a catalogue listing all forest carbon initiatives in 2011 see Kshatriya et al. (2011). For a discussion of how the “integrated conservation and development project” approach to stopping deforestation continues in REDD+ initiatives, see Blom et al. (2010) and Sunderlin & Sills (2012). For a retrospective analysis on where REDD+ fits in modern attempts to reduce deforestation, and an assessment of REDD+’s prospects, see Sunderlin & Atmadja (2009).
More recently, Module 2 published REDD+ on the Ground: A case book of subnational initiatives across the globe (Sills et al. 2014). In addition to summarizing the main findings of our baseline (2009-2012) field research, the book also continues the investigation into why getting REDD+ underway has been so challenging. The challenges are framed in terms of five theme areas: finance, tenure, scale, MRV, and safeguards. The introductory chapter describes Module 2’s approach and sample, explains the challenges faced by proponent organizations, and makes the case for why scientific evidence is needed for successful forest-based climate change mitigation (Sunderlin et al. 2014). The concluding chapter assesses the five types of challenges faced in the light of field data, reflects on what proponent organizations have done to meet the challenges, and makes recommendations (De Sassi et al. 2014). Assessing the nature of the challenges, the book finds that “This is still a world where interests favoring conversion of forests to non-forest uses in tropical countries often have the upper hand in land-use decisions.”