Forest governance learning group

The Forest Governance Learning Group aims to connect forest-dependent people who are marginalised from forest governance with those who control it.


Forest Governance Learning Group, December 2010, Namaacha, Mozambique. At this annual learning event FGLG network partners gather to share learning and discuss contemporary issues in forestry. Photo: Leianne Rolington

Project aim

Eradicating poverty and improving sustainability in forestry can only be achieved through strong and inclusive governance structures and processes, including leadership, institutions, policy decisions and practical systems.

From our research, we know that small teams working together can have a big impact on improving forest governance by developing practical tactics for securing safe spaces, provoking dialogue, building constituencies, wielding evidence of what works, and interacting politically. Collectively, they demonstrate that it is necessary to put social justice centre stage for long-term sustainability.

In practice, this often means investing in locally-controlled forestry.

How it works

The Forest Governance Learning Group is an informal alliance of ten in-country groups of partners in Cameroon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam. The teams carry out research, capacity building and advocacy work. IIED works with these teams to carry out similar functions internationally, and it steers the initiative, with additional support to teams in Asia from The Centre for People and Forests.

Thematic work focuses on:

  • Strengthening forest rights and small forest enterprises;
  • Encouraging trade in legal forest products; and
  • Advocating for pro-poor climate change mitigation and adaptation through forestry.

China’s growing population provides a large and growing market for forest products. A special exchange and learning platform has been developed to establish links between forest practitioners and policy makers in China and promote Africa China-Africa forest governance links and to explore key issues in forest investment and trade.

Watch a series of short FGLG films on how small teams can have a big impact on tackling forest governance.


The first phase (2004-09) was funded by the European Union and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


This project is currently funded by the European Commission and the UK Department for International Development.


Cameroon: Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa

China: Global Environmental Institute

Ghana Civic Response

India Enviro Legal Defence Firm

Indonesia: Natural Resource Development Center

Malawi: Centre for Development Management

Mozambique: Center for Public Integrity

South Africa: Forestry South Africa

Tanzania: Tanzania Natural Resource Forum

Uganda: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment

Vietnam: The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC)


James Mayers