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The Soft Voices of Community Forestry

Guest Blogger Thuan Sarzynski reflects on the recent People and Forests Forum hosted by RECOFTC. 

People + Good Governance = Healthy Forests

Members of the European Union funded Voices for Mekong Forests (V4MF) project explain the formula that is needed to create healthy forests throughout our world. 

Good governance is key to community forestry

David Gritten of RECOFTC reflects on what it means to work in community forestry and explains the premise behind good governance in our most recent blog. 

Making Community Forestry in Myanmar a Roaring Success

Dr. Maung Maung Than, Director of Myanmar Country Program, reflects on the successes of the recently completed SuComFor project in Myanmar while also looking towards the future of community forestry in the country. 

The Spark for Citizen's Monitoring Toolbox

Monica S. Cheng and Binod Chapagain of RECOFTC's Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM & E) Team provide the foundations that helped them conceptualize the need for a Citizen's Monitoring Toolbox. 

Financing FLR: What to Consider for a Sustainable Investment

Lina Jihadah and Sararin Phaengam recap a regional dialogue organized by RECOFTC, FAO and IUCN that aimed to bring together multiple stakeholders to explore finance concepts for FLR. In this piece, they further reflect on what is necessary for a sutainable investment. 

Urban Forests and Sustainable Cities: Encouraging the Youth to Think About a Greener Future

Executive Director Dr. David Ganz recounts RECOFTC's 5th Annual Student Debate for International Day of Foresets. This year, which argued for the feasibility of greener cities, aimed at engaging youth in a participatory process that allows them to reflect on what forests mean to them. 

The Future is Now: our drive to secure gender equality across forest landscapes

Dr. Kalpana Giri, RECOFTC's Senior Program Officer for "Social Inclusion and Gender Equity," comments on recent gender trends in international development and discusses how RECOFTC plans to secure gender equality across forest landscapes. 

Reflecting on Partnership: How can we help the private sector better engage with local communities? A case study from Lao PDR

Deth Phouangmala reflects on the successful partnership RECOFTC - Lao PDR has had with Stora Enso Lao PDR (SEL) and Village Focus International in bringing together multiple stakeholders. It is important to include all voices in forest conservation and management. 

Making forest landscape restoration a reality (Guest Blog)

Read about how Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet) plans on tackling deforestation through their organisation's holistic approach. Ben Forrest is the author of this blog. 

Want a healthy natural environment (and headache free)? One key step is respecting the rights of local communities

Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) is a multi-disciplinary approach to counter the headache generating reality of deforestation. By engaging multiple stakeholders, FLR hopes to secure rights, enhance livelihoods, and finance sustainable growth.


Enhancing human rights through responsible community forestry: a case from Myanmar

Community Forestry practices in Myanmar have secured community land rights, empowered women, and enhanced access to diverse income generation strategies. All of these are vital in our global campaign to promote human rights. 

Knowledge is power: protecting forests with carbon assessments and open data

Carbon assessments in Northern Thailand have proved instrumental to communities advocating for the protection of their forests. Communities in Chiang Khong district have been under pressure to capitulate to the incursions of a planned Special Economic Zone that would cover their community forest.

Supporting local communities to secure land rights

Land ownership is central to providing food, income and savings for the future of women, local communities and Indigenous Peoples. However, formal land rights are rarely extended to women, local communities and Indigenous Peoples.  

The importance of outreach and conservation awareness for Protected Area management

The Protected Areas (PAs) of Bangladesh are the most biodiversity rich areas of the country. Sadly, they are threatened by a range of pressures. While promising people-centered forest management approaches have been sponsored by the Bangladesh government, they could be enhanced through outreach and awareness raising initiatives.

Landscape approach: lessons from the Ing Watershed in Thailand

Taking a landscape approach in implementing activities is central to RECOFTC’s upcoming strategic plan. A landscape approach focuses on stakeholders at a scale that is small enough to maintain a degree of manageability, whilst simultaneously operating in a context large enough to be able to deliver multiple outcomes to stakeholders with different interests. 

How can we assess the rights and benefits of forest-dependent people in new holistic ways?

The livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region are dependent upon forest resources. Their livelihoods are strongly linked with how they interact with forest resources and other stakeholders in managing forests. However, tools to assess the rights and benefits of forest-dependent people are somewhat limited.

Multi-stakeholder engagement for natural resources management: lessons from landscape restoration in Mae Chaem, Thailand shows that collaboration is key

Forest landscape restoration (FLR)  offers a way to restore both degraded forests as well as the surrounding degraded landscape whilst offering socio-economic benefits to people in the wider area. The Mae Chaem model in Thailand is one real-life success story that shows that FLR can contribute to solving multiple problems in the landscape, and that multi-stakeholder collaboration is the key to success.

Community forestry and collaborative land management systems must do more to protect women’s rights

While there are a number of legal entitlements for women to assert their voices in forest decision-making processes, land rights advocacy groups are finding that collaborative land management systems are not yet doing enough to protect the rights of women. 

Meeting ASEAN’s social forestry targets: how far have we come on meeting the ‘social’ dimensions of social forestry?

This blog by Binod Chapagain and Tian Lin, RECOFTC's Monitoring and Evaluation team, explores the findings of the three studies conducted by RECOFTC and the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry from 2012-2016 to understand the social achievements of social forestry in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. It finds that to understand social forestry's contributions to SDG targets, ASEAN governments must improve reporting on socio-economic aspects of forests.

To keep our coasts, coastal communities must benefit from sustainable enterprises

How we can tackle the precarious situation facing mangroves and coastal communities in Myanmar and Thailand? Read RECOFTC's latest blog from David Ganz, Chandra Silori and Maung Maung Than. 

Advancing the rights of local people: how REDD+ can continue to foster open and honest dialogues about natural assets to better manage forested landscapes?

22 April is Earth Day! To celebrate the occasion, RECOFTC Executive Director Dr David Ganz makes the case that now more than ever we must continue to work to empower local people to effectively engage in mechanisms like REDD+ and other forms of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) to better manage their forested landscapes.  

Forests and energy: how can biomass energy benefit local communities?

The potential benefits of improved biomass energy production and use are massive. But for biomass energy to be sustainable, it must be managed responsibly and unfortunately the reality is that it is rarely as well managed as we would like it to be. Dedicated efforts are needed to reach and incorporate the needs of the least powerful stakeholders, in order to ensure that this segment of society benefits.  

Indonesia can deliver on its social forestry targets with participation of sub-national actors

The Indonesia (central) government budget cut for social forestry into half of that compared to the 2015 budget may seem like it is counterproductive toward achieving its social forestry target of 12.7 million hectares in 2020. However, there is still great opportunity for the forester Indonesian president to deliver on social forestry targets.


How can FLEGT truly address illegal logging?

FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) provides a great opportunity to address illegal logging IF it is based on strengthening the rights of local communities.

Community forestry and joint mitigation and adaptation: bridging old and new with a tool  from Nepal

By drawing on simple tools and existing insitutions, pracitioners can design projects that both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. One simple tool, know as the community forestry-based climate chage adaptation (CF-CCA) framework, was developed by RECOFTC in Nepal. 

People and mangroves: towards a changing future in the Ayeyarwady Delta

Mélanie Feurer, RECOFTC Myanmar intern from 2014-2015, makes the case on why mangroves are vital for coastal communities in adapting to climate change. Her internship was part of her master’s thesis at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL. Ms. Feurer is set to defend her thesis on 12th August 2016 in HAFL.

To achieve the SDGs, listen to the voices of the forest

David Gritten, RECOFTC Senior Programme Officer, makes the case on how it is imperative to listen to those who know the forest best – local communities living in and around forests – to achieve the SDGs.

For my forest, for my people: women preachers of Meru Betiri, Indonesia

Yuliatin is a 29-year old female preacher who grew up near Meru Betiri National Park in East Java, Indonesia, an area known as one of the last habitats of the Javanese tiger, "Before I was no one, just a housewife, but now my community regards me as a someone who can advise them about how to protect the environment." Read about her journey to become an outspoken activist in her community and beyond.


Success of COP21 Paris Agreement depends on equity for local communities

Regan Suzuki Pairojmahakij, Senior Program Officer at RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, explores the findings of a new RECOFTC report 'Equity in forests and REDD+: An analysis of equity challenges as viewed by forestry decision-makers and practitioners in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam'.  She finds that the viability and success of any agreement emerging from Paris requires that equity extending to local communities form an essential component of process and outcomes in tackling climate change.

Southeast Asian forests are being seen as a key strategy to halt climate change: what will this mean for vulnerable forest communities?

Regan Suzuki Pairojmahakij, Senior Program Officer at RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, argues that the national plansRegan Suzuki Pairojmahakij, Senior Program Officer at RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, argues that the national plans to reduce carbon emissions, submitted in the lead up to COP21 taking place in Paris this December, must not leave forest-dependent people worse off.  to reduce carbon emissions, submitted in the lead up to COP21 taking place in Paris this December, must not leave forest-dependent people worse off. 

Who are the drivers of change in sustainable forest management?

Tint Lwin Thaung, Executive Director of RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, explains the importance of including local people in forest decision-making in order for sustainable forest management to be successful. He argues that investing in local people will sustain our forests, and thus, our future. 

To what extent has women’s rights to access and control over forest resources been recognized and addressed in forest policies and laws in Asia and the Pacific?

Ratchada Arpornsilp, Social Inclusion and Gender Officer, RECOFT writes on International Women’s Day about RECOFTC and FAO's new report ‘Mainstreaming gender into forest policies in Asia and the Pacific’. It aims to shed light on how gender perspectives are being integrated or mainstreamed in the forest policies of eight countries – Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. 


Deforestation and community-outsider conflicts

RECOFTC’s Ahmad Dhiaulhaq was recently asked to be a guest blogger for “The Broker”, which is “an independent platform and online magazine on globalisation and development, bringing together cutting-edge knowledge and expert opinions from researchers, policymakers and practitioners”.

Asking hard question about community forestry brings us full circle

Written by Regan Suzuki, Senior Program Officer, "As long as there are local communities living in forested landscapes and as long as proponents of community forestry are willing to be responsive, dynamic and adaptable, there is a real and legitimate rationale for the promotion and up-scaling of community forestry – and many would consider, moral imperative."

Forests and water: Unraveling the controversy and what it means to local communities in Asia

RECOFTC is launching its new report Forests and water: A synthesis of the contemporary science and its relevance for community forestry in the Asia–Pacific region. The report aims to shed light on the relationships between forests and water in both temperate and tropical regions. However, it finds that there is a “popular narrative” that often runs counter to the consensus views of the forest hydrology scientific community.



RECOFTC's for people and forests blog features updates about climate change, REDD+, indigenous rights, governance, livelihoods and benefits, and other issues affecting the 450 million people living in and around forests in Asia and the Pacific.

If you would like to contribute as a guest blogger, please contact RECOFTC's Assistant Communications Officer, Kerry Woodward, at While RECOFTC welcomes your contributions it reserves the right not to publish or edit them in conformity with its editorial policies.


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