Community-based forestry

The livelihoods of over 2.4 billion people depend directly or indirectly on forests for the generation of cash and non-cash income, providing a wide range of social, economic, cultural, spiritual and environmental benefits for local communities. Beyond the wide range of products and services forests and trees provide, their significant contributions to rural livelihoods and alleviation of hunger and poverty make it a must to have a people-centred approach to forestry. Recognizing local people as key forest stakeholders and promoting their involvement in decision-making and sustainable management of forests, generates positive outcomes for livelihoods, rural development and forest conservation.

FAO has over the years spearheaded the concept of community-based forestry[1] as key element in achieving social, economic and environmental objectives to sustainable forest management. This support includes decades of strengthening capacities in countries for ensuring participation of key stakeholders in sustainable forest management.

       FAO’s work on community-based forestry aims to deliver on the following outcomes:

  • Countries develop and implement effective community-based forestry policies, strategies and programmes that promote the sustainable management of forests by local communities and guarantee sustainable socio-economic and environmental benefits for local communities, indigenous people, men and women;
  • Participatory approaches that strengthen involvement of multiple stakeholders are integrated into the work of public forest agencies, civil society and other interest groups to enhance human capacities and participatory decision-making processes for forestry; 
  • State forest agencies work collaboratively with a range of non-state actors, to ensure that local communities, especially the poor and the marginalized, have secure land and forest tenure rights and the means to claim these rights; 
  • Countries have the capacity to enhance the contribution of forestry to poverty alleviation and food security, especially among poor forest – dependent communities through the development of forest based enterprises (timber and non-timber) and related market access.

    [1] refers to processes and mechanisms that enable key direct stakeholders in forestry to be part of decision-making in all aspects of forest management, from managing resources to formulating and implementing institutional frameworks.


last updated:  Wednesday, November 4, 2015