Man in Forest


Community Forestry Law & Policy

New community forestry laws, regulations, and policies are emerging across Asia as national governments attempt to formally integrate rural institutions into management systems for public lands. Enabling legislation and a supportive policy framework are critical to the success of reforms of public forest land management in Asia and engage tens of millions of low income rural families in productive stewardship. In some Asian countries, community resource rights were recognized in the pre-colonial and earlier colonial era, only to diminish as the authority and reach of the central government grew. Since the 1980s, however, there has been growing recognition among legislators and policy makers that forest-dependent communities are important stakeholders and strategic managers. From a legal and policy standpoint, legislators and planners must not only to create new laws to guide public forest land reform, but to bring prior legislation and court decisions into conformity with new national management systems. where possible through the exchange of experience.

Communities & Biodiversity

CFI works with forest dependent communities to support their greater participation in the protection and management of forests and wildlife. Community Forestry International has partnered with groups 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 waters 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.

Communities & PES

CFI encourages communities to access contracts for payments for ecosystem services (PES). CFI believes that investments in upland natural resource management systems are well justified because 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. PES helps communities to strategize ways to conserve and protect their environmental resources while, at the same time, managing them for their immediate household needs and livelihood income.

Communities & REDD

CFI’s program on climate change keeps evolving as new opportunities, regulations, and strategies emerge under REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). CFI’s projects are designed to create financially and environmentally sustainable strategies that enhance the livelihoods and forest management of the rural poor. CFI continues to be at the forefront of REDD strategies and challenges as it continues to design change as new policies are formalized.

CFI Strategy

Community Forestry

CFI supports the role of forest dependent peoples as reliable natural resource stewards. Good environmental policy and law can only be formulated through extensive field learning and experience. Many countries’ national forest management systems are going through a period of transition, often devolving rights and responsibilities to local communities and indigenous people.  Community forest management represents an important strategy to conserve threatened forest ecosystems, while responding to rural livelihood needs in a socially just manner. CFI’s projects not only contribute to forest restoration and improved management, they help stabilize and maintain indigenous, forest-oriented cultures and societies. CFI’s strategy is based on a belief that strong community institutions lead to good forest management and vice versa.

With limited resources, CFI partners with other organizations that share its concerns and goals. This not only allows for a pooling of resources, but accelerates the sharing of knowledge and learning. Project strategies are designed to explore exciting new modes of facilitating adaptive changes in policy and practice that can help transform the forestry sector, allowing financial and technical resources to address management problems in a cost-effective manner and one that is empowering for forest communities.

CFI is committed to sharing its learning on community forestry by producing numerous publications, videos, and brochures in local languages that can be easily downloaded from its website for free.