Discussions between investors and forest rights-holders have resulted in new guidance for investments that can create a ‘triple win’ of returns for investors, livelihood security for local communities and protection for forests.
Land is cheap and is perceived to be abundant in Africa. A scramble for its land, following the food and fuel crisis three years ago, is on. European and North American companies have been acquiring land to grow export and biofuel crops and to supply their need for pulp and paper. Now they’re being joined by newly emerging economies – in particular Brazil, India and China – which are also increasingly acquiring large tracts of land and searching for other natural resources, in particular water and minerals.
Rising demand for the dominant form of renewable energy worldwide – wood – could drive yet more acquisitions of land in developing countries where food insecurity is rising and land rights are weak, say researchers at IIED.