Community forestry is a branch of forestry that deals with two main issues: 1) the communal management of forests for generating income from timber and non-timber forest products as forms of goods; 2) regulating ecosystem, downstream settlements benefits from watershed conservation, carbon sequestration and aesthetic values as in forms of ecosystem services. Community forestry has been considered one of the most promising options for combining forest conservation with rural development and community empowerment and poverty reduction objectives. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations defines community forestry as “any situation that intimately involves local people in forestry activity”. In community forestry the local community plays a significant role in land use decision-making and must be satisfied with its involvement and benefits from the management of the surrounding forest and its resources.
Engaging the local community in forest management has significant impacts on improvement of forest resource quality and enhancement of indigenous income especially in developing countries with abundant forest resources. Traditional forest management has a single objective, maximization of timber products. Since local communities place increased numbers and types of demands on forests, community forest management has multiple objectives. In this topic, we introduce the role and function of forestry in communities, organization of community forestry, problems and opportunities for community forestry, policy and institution for development of community forestry, and experience from China’s collective forest tenure reform for community forestry.
View the following video lectures:
4.3.1 Roles and functions of forestry in communities
4.3.2 The partnership and stakeholder of community forestry
4.3.3 Problems and opportunities for community forestry
4.3.4 Policies and institutions for developing community forestry
4.3.5 Experience from China’s collective forest tenure reform
- Arnold, J. E. M. (1992).Community forestry. In Community forestry: Ten years in review. Retrieved from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations website: http://www.fao.org/docrep/u5610e/u5610e04.htm
This article introduces the origin, concept and definition of community forestry.
- Community forestry. (2014). Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_forestry
This article = introduces community forestry, including an overview of the history, stakeholders, challenges and best practices.
- Villarreal, C. (1996). Socio-environmental and community forest conflicts in Latin America. Retrieved from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations website: http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/AC696E/AC696E05.htm
This article explains social-environmental and community forest conflicts in Latin America.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. (2014). Community-based forest enterprise development[Website]. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/forestry/enterprises/en/
This article introduces why and how to develop community-based forest enterprises.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. (2013). China Forest Tenure [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/forestry/tenure/china-reform/en/
This website contains more than 10 project reports which explain why China implemented collective tenure reform, and what experiences and lessons we can learn from the reform. This information is generated from a project “supporting policy, legal and institutional frameworks for the reform of forest tenure in China’s collective forests and promoting knowledge exchange ” funded by European Union and conducted jointly by the FAO and China’s State Forestry Administration.
Self-test for Topic 3
- Why is forestry important for development of communities in forest zones?
- What effect do forest-based community and forest management have on each other?
- What is the organizational structure of community forestry?
- What are the most important principles for sound operation of community forestry?
- What problems currently exist in the operation of community forestry?
- What new opportunities exist for the development of community forestry?
- What policies and institutions could be effective in promoting the development of community forestry?
- What are experiences and lessons we can learn from China’s collective forest tenure reform?
After formulating your answers, you may post them online at the Knowledge Café for this course as a way to share your ideas and glean knowledge from other students’ responses.