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Successful examples of community-based forestry from around the world

Photo credit: FAO

Women in Mozambique are carrying fuelwood that will be sold by the roadside to create additional income for the rural forest community.

 

Community-based forestry can be a driving force in boosting sustainability and people’s livelihoods

FAO calls on governments to take steps to unleash its full potential

Community-based forestry has shown itself to be a potent vehicle for promoting sustainable forest management, reducing poverty and generating jobs and income for rural communities, but unlocking its true potential will require greater support by governments through policy reforms and other measures.

Many community-based forestry regimes are showing great promise as engines for sustainable development but are still performing below their potential, a new FAO report released today at the start of Asia-Pacific Forestry Week says.

Under the approach, local communities partner with governments to play a lead role in making land-use decisions and managing the forestry resources they depend on for their livelihoods.

According to “Forty years of community based forestry: A review of extent and effectiveness”, almost one-third of the world’s forest area is now estimated to be under some form of community-based management.

Yet in many cases, while in practice policies may exist for the decentralization and devolution of rights and responsibilities to communities, the right conditions may not yet be in place for them to fully exercise their rights.

The report outlines a series of actions needed to make community-based forestry more effective, including providing communities with secure forest tenure, improving regulatory frameworks, and transferring appropriate and viable skills and technology.

Access to markets and knowledge of market mechanisms are also essential if communities and smallholders are to commercialize their forest products, which can significantly contribute to poverty reduction.

“Indigenous peoples, local communities and family smallholders stand ready to maintain and restore forests, respond to climate change, conserve biodiversity and sustain livelihoods on a vast scale”, said Eva Müller, Director of FAO’s Forestry Policy and Resources Division. “What is missing in most cases is the political will to make it happen. Political leaders and policy makers should open the door to unleash the potential of hundreds of millions of people to manage the forests on which the whole world depends for a better and sustainable future”.

Sharing best practices

The report also cites a number of successful examples of community-based forestry from around the world.

Read the full article: FAO

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.