|COMMUNITIES & BIODIVERSITY
Community Forestry International (CFI) works with rural people to support their greater participation in the protection and management of forests and wildlife. Community Forestry International is currently collaborating with partner institutions in eight Asian nations in an effort to stabilize critical habitats and their flora and fauna, including lowland rainforests, montane forests, dry deciduous forests, flood forests, and coastal mangrove forests.
Policy makers and the general public are often unaware of the important roles communities play in protecting wildlife, managing, and monitoring the natural environment. International protected area policies often provide little support to communities to formally engage in wildlife conservation and management. Some conservation organizations are leaning towards harsher measures of “enforcement,” to protect endangered habitat. While there is a role for policing measures in wildlife protection, there is also a need to create strategies that are humane both to animals and to resident peoples.
The complex relationships between aquatic forests, fish, and other species that inhabit the unique ecosystems around the world are just beginning to be understood by scientists. Studies indicate they are rich in biodiversity and critically important components in the world’s fisheries. In coastal areas mangrove forests move from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems based on tidal fluctuations, while flood forests are inundated on a seasonal basis as river flows rise and fall. Managing these unusual environments presents special challenges, especially as population growth, commercial timber exploitation, and expanding aquaculture has placed intense pressures on them. CFI works with local organizations and community groups to find ways to protect and conserve these rare and endangered habitats.