Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Approximately one-third of the world’s 4 billion hectares of forests are managed primarily for the production of wood and other forest products (FAO’s 2005). Timber production often conjures images of capital intensive operations, big machines and large profits for a small handful of people. With poverty rates often being highest in forested areas, we thought it timely to initiate further discussion on how timber production from forests can be better harnessed for poverty reduction. In particular, we focused the conference on small scale commercial forestry and how to capture opportunities in forest harvesting and wood processing for the benefit of the poor.

The idea for a conference was discussed initially by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Regional Community Forestry and Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) and Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). Many other interested parties joined this discussion, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam, who hosted the conference, Tropical Forest Trust (TFT), Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Asia Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC). Generous funding was provided by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS).

The conference aimed to:

  1. Review technical, economic, institutional and policy aspects of small-scale and labor-intensive forest management practices and wood processing with regard to their impacts on the poor and their potential for reducing poverty.
  2. Identify constraints to, and opportunities for, managing forests and processing activities with poverty alleviation as an explicit objective in Asia and the Pacific.
  3. Establish a task force that will develop a strategic plan for promoting forest management for poverty alleviation by encouraging support for small-scale forest and labor-intensive forest management practices and wood processing.

The program was developed to engage a large number of resource persons to elaborate experience in the field of poverty reduction through small scale timber production. The conference was centered around five sessions, focusing respectively on: policies and legislation, economic issues, institutional issues, and technical aspects of small scale timber production. The sharing of experiences from Latin America, Africa and Asia made the conference a truly international event.

The conference brought together the emerging themes into a declaration that targets key areas for attention by policy makers, private sector, practitioners and communities. The challenge now is to take forward the agenda and ideas for further action defined at the Ho Chi Minh City Conference. We look forward to working with our many partners in the region to make this a reality.

Dr. He Changchui
FAO Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia
and the Pacific Region

Dr Yam Malla
Executive Director
Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for
Asia and the Pacific

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page