Monitoring and evaluation systems for integrated community forest management

April 2021 - December 2021

IIED and partners are analysing and recommending monitoring and evaluation systems for the Rainforest Alliance’s Integrated Community Forest Management (ICFM) pathway.

View of a forest

Community forestry in Guatemala (Photo: Duncan Macqueen, IIED)

Over the past 25 years, the Rainforest Alliance has successfully worked with forest communities to establish sustainable enterprises. These have improved livelihood benefits and safeguarded key tropical forest areas through sustainable forest management.

However, challenges in upscaling community forestry in tropical forests across the world remain. To address this, the Rainforest Alliance has formed Forest Allies, a community of practice focused on protecting, restoring and enabling responsible management of tropical forests.

Together, they have adopted a common vision of people and nature thriving in harmony called the Integrated Community Forest Management (ICFM) pathway.

The ICFM pathway supports community forest enterprises through developing training, tools and knowledge to create stronger social organisations, more secure governance of tenure and land use planning, more sustainable forest management, and more profitable enterprise development.

Rainforest Alliance approached IIED to help develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tool that would demonstrate ICFM pathway progress towards ongoing and planned actions, improve accountability (in reporting to members of Forest Allies), while ensuring that interventions have a strong positive impact on the lives of Indigneous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs). It's lives and enabling rapid course correction when necessary.

What is IIED doing?

IIED’s forest team and monitoring evaluation and learning (MEL) team are working in partnership with Rainforest Alliance and its Forest Allies members to develop a workable approach to M&E, as part of the ‘Analysing and recommending monitoring and evaluation systems for the Rainforest Alliance’s Integrated Community Forest Management (ICFM) Pathway' project.

We will provide insight and analysis into the various applicable approaches for M&E to be potentially included in the Forest Allies initiative. Specifically, IIED is working to:

  • Explore options for measuring social capital of forest communities, enterprise viability, forest quality (deforestation and degradation) and other key elements of the ICFM intervention, including the resource needs, advantages and disadvantages, and potential implications for each
  • Identify leading resources and tools relevant to monitoring and evaluating progress of the ICFM intervention, including but not limited to guides, indicator sets and data collection and analysis, and
  • Recommend an approach or combination of approaches to meet the MEL needs of the ICFM Forest Allies.

The work will take place in four phases, beginning with engaging Rainforest Alliance and members of Forest Allies to develop a theory of change and the main purposes of the M&E system, and then assessing M&E approaches relevant to the four pillars of ICFM on social organisation, tenure and land use planning, forest management and enterprise development.

The resulting draft of a first set of indicators will be used in surveys of regional Rainforest Alliance programmes in Cameroon, Guatemala and Indonesia to refine aspects of M&E implementation, and the final phase will see this M&E approach to the ICFM pathway revised and presented.

IIED aims for all aspects to be collaborative and will respect intellectual property and reflect it in authorship of all products developed. The final products will be shared in IIED's Publications Library and circulated through our shareholder networks.