Securing Community Forestry

Securing Community Forestry

RECOFTC's core work involves helping countries develop and implement effective policies, legislation, and programs to set up community forestry.

After decades of deforestation and entrenched rural poverty, countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly embracing community forestry as a means to maintain healthy forests and strengthen local livelihoods. Today, around a quarter of forestland in the region is under some form of community management, with more expected in the coming years.


What Is Community Forestry?

Community forestry is a broad term used to describe models of forest management that place local people at the center of decision making.

While local people are not the only key players in forest management, because of their sheer numbers and dependence on forests, they are the most important. Without appropriate incentives and direct benefits, local people will not be motivated to look after forests. Throughout the region, countries are increasingly realizing that to make sustainable forestry a reality, local people must be at the center of forest management. However, shifting to community management of forests is no easy task. Policy and legislative reforms are always a prerequisite. To then implement community forestry programs, effective institutions, governance systems, and the skills and knowledge of stakeholders need to be developed. The process takes years, and in this diverse region, approaches must be tailored to specific country contexts.


Our Work

Expanding community forestry in the region is RECOFTC's primary focus, helping more local people manage more forests. We assist countries in establishing appropriate 'enabling environments', which include supportive policies, laws, and institutions. Once these are in place, we help governments and communities as they implement community forestry programs on the ground. We continue to assist stakeholders in all stages of the process, as contexts change and new lessons about community forestry develop.  To do so, we work closely with governments and civil society, advising on the policies, legislation, institutions, principles, and national programs necessary for community forestry. RECOFTC's country programs in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam help to translate those systems into action through field-based projects and activities, working with communities, local nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and government agencies to set up community forests. We then share the lessons generated from each country throughout that country, the region, and beyond.


Main Tasks

  • Facilitate and influence national and regional policy dialogues
  • Advise national community forestry program planning and development
  • Assist the development of supportive institutions, systems, partnerships, and funding opportunities
  • Provide technical support, including training, for establishing community forestry sites
  • Support grassroots, national, and regional community forestry networks
  • Advocate and raise awareness for community forestry throughout the region
  • Provide training and tools for community forestry