|C0MMUNITIES, LIVELIHOOD& PAYMENTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
Community Forestry International (CFI) works with communities to help them strategize ways to conserve and protect their environmental resources while, at the same time, managing them for their immediate household needs. CFI engages governments and development agencies to formulate policies and national programs to empower communities through community-based forest and wildlife stewardship agreements.
CFI’s strategy is designed to empower rural and indigenous communities to build the capacity of their traditional institutions to conserve and productively manage their natural resources. This includes strengthening protection systems around sacred forests, especially those with high biodiversity, as well as restoring degraded forests and fallowed swidden farms. Assisting villagers to restore their watersheds is also designed to improve ground and service water availability by slowing run-off and facilitating infiltration.
Upland communities often lose income as they end commercial fuelwood collection and small scale quarrying, restrict grazing, and allow marginal farmlands to return to natural forests. CFI assumes that communities require financial support to build capital within households and village institutions, generate new small enterprises, and transform agricultural systems, and animal husbandry practices. CFI anticipates that investments in upland natural resource management systems are well justified in terms of the collective value of the enhanced environmental services being generated that provide global benefits including the conservation of rare flora and fauna, the capturing and storage of carbon as forest regenerate, and the better provision of water to lowland and downstream urban users. CFI’s new resource management partnerships are creating a win-win for local communities and their cultural traditions, as well as for those interested in investing in a better global environment.