Scientific evidence suggests that increasing amounts of carbon in the atmosphere are causing climate change that will result in global warming, sea -level rise and more extreme weather events. In response to anthropogenic climate change, market-based mechanisms have been proposed to mitigate these rising carbon dioxide emissions. One of these mechanisms is known
as REDD (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). It works to prevent the loss of forests that play a key role in sequestering carbon and regulating the global climate.

Climate change mitigation projects in developing countries have the potential for significant negative impacts on land users. In particular, land users with socially legitimate but informal tenure that is not recorded using a statutory process are at risk of exploitation from the powerful elite. A detailed understanding of de facto property rights is important in protecting the
rights of legitimate beneficiaries of climate change mitigation projects, and this is recognized in international declarations.

This article highlights the land tenure implications of payment for environmental services (PES) mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions and enhance carbon sequestration, and offers suggestions for incorporating tenure into PES strategies.