To restore forests and get out of poverty, rural communities need the knowledge and connections to build flourishing enterprises. Forest Connect aims to reduce poverty and protect forests by better linking locally-controlled forest and farm enterprises, not only to each other, but also to markets, financial and business support services and to decision makers, policymakers and policy processes, such as National Forest Programmes.
Creating these connections has had some important results. In Nepal, for example, forest communities were recently linked into a supply chain that built better charcoal briquettes and stoves, cornering the market for fuel in Kathmandu. Read more about this.
Forest Connect catalyses practical support for locally-controlled forest enterprises. An example includes this Facilitator’s toolkit for supporting small forest enterprises.
It has also facilitated the sharing of learning and exchanges between partner institutions.
How it works
Forest Connect is often referred to as an ad hoc alliance because it is made up of individuals and institutions, all of which are committed to supporting locally-controlled forest enterprises and who share experiences and learn from each other, but not through a formal membership structure. Central to this way of working is a social networking platform, which currently involves more than 1,000 individual members in 94 countries.
At the national level, Forest Connect comprises national institutional ‘hubs’, some of which have received modest financial support from international partners, but all of whom source and use their own resources in support of locally-controlled forest enterprises. There are active programmes in Brazil, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Laos, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam.
In addition, IIED supports more in-depth analysis of options for investing in locally-controlled forestry in Ghana, Guyana, Mozambique and Myanmar. In each country, we try to ensure that locally-controlled forestry is recognised and supported in key policies concerning sustainable forest management, the legal timber trade, climate change and integrated land-use planning.
At an international level, we gather evidence of what works (and what doesn’t), organise international learning events and platforms to share such information, distil findings into briefing materials, and pursue investment in support of locally-controlled forestry.
This work is currently funded by the UK Department for International Development.
Forest & Farm Facility hosted by the FAO
Brazil: Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia
Burkina Faso: TreeAid
China: Forest Policy and Information Institute of the Chinese Academy of Forestry
DRC: Tropenbos International DRC
Ethiopia: Farm Africa
Ghana: Tropenbos International Ghana
Guatemala: Utz Che
Guyana: North Rupununi District Development Board
Liberia: Save my Future – SAMFU Foundation
Mali: Association des Organisations Professionnelles Paysannes
Mexico: Reforestamos Mexico
Myanmar: Pyoe Pin
Nepal: Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources
South East Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam): The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC)
Uganda: Natural Enterprises Development Ltd
Supporting locally-controlled forestry for improved livelihoods, justice and sustainability