Community Forestry and REDD+ in Asia: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward
This brief describes how lessons learned from decades of community forestry in Asia can be applied to REDD+ programs in the region. Asia now constitutes nearly 20 percent of the world’s forests; Indonesia, in particular, is relevant for REDD+.
Community forestry is now widespread in Asia. A crucial element to its success is empowering communities with clear land tenure rights. Governments in the region often limit these rights, even if they are granted on paper, so it is vital to find ways to make such tenure effective in practice. Even modest local experiments can foster greater investment in community forestry management.
Engaging all stakeholders and improving legal access to forest products for domestic consumption is also important, as is training in forest management skills, business and administration and basic literacy - particularly for women. Successful pilot initiatives and favorable policy and legal frameworks will help programs scale up.
Self-initiated and externally initiated community forestry programs have helped maintain healthy forests in Asia, and most have benefited from long-term donor support - 15 to 20 years being optimal to keep programs self-sustaining. REDD+ may provide such support and the brief gives 10 recommendations for such interventions.