Webinar: Community forestry. Where and why has devolution of forest rights contributed to better governance and livelihoods?

  • When: August 29, 11:00 AM, EST
  • Presenter: Steven Lawry, Director, Equal Opportunities, Gender, Justice, and Tenure, CIFOR

Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR

Initiatives promoting community forestry have taken place in many developing countries over the past three decades. Many programs are based on a belief that better forest conservation, livelihood, and climate outcomes are more likely where forest users organize themselves into collective forest management bodies, capable of coordinating and enforcing sustainable management practices and promoting new forms of forest enterprise. Early donor-led community forestry initiatives for the most part foundered. These were often undertaken without sufficient knowledge of the complexities of collective action at the local level, the higher relative value accorded in many places to crop-based enterprises and land uses, weak local forest rights, and lack of buy-in on the part of national forest authorities to local-level control and governance of forests.

Despite the early difficulties, proponents of community forestry have drawn lessons from failed efforts. Global and national forest rights movements have catalyzed public and donor support for rights-based approaches to community forestry.  As a result, several governments have devolved a meaningful variety of forest use and management rights to local user groups; something that research suggests is essential to catalyzing local investment in forest conservation and forest-based enterprises.  Meta-analyses and systematic reviews provide insights into factors likely to contribute to the success of community forestry, defined against various performance standards and outcomes.

This webinar will summarize the findings of selected meta-analyses, present case studies from Nepal, Guatemala, and Mexico, and preview emerging research that looks at the investment effects of community forestry models that feature strong elements of forest rights devolution.


About the presenter

Steven Lawry is Director of CIFOR’s Equity, Gender and Tenure research program, leading a team of nine scientists and research associates based at CIFOR offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Dr Lawry co-leads Flagship 5: Governance of Natural Resources of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).

Dr. Lawry has published studies and scholarly articles on the social and ecological effects of forest rights devolution; the impacts of land rights formalization on agricultural investment and productivity; and tenure factors affecting adoption of agroforestry technologies in West Africa, among other topics. He received a PhD from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. The same year he joined the research staff of UW-Madison’s Land Tenure Center (LTC). He became LTC’s Associate Director in charge of Africa programs in 1990. Dr. Lawry held senior positions in the Ford Foundation from 1992 to 2006, including head of the Foundation’s Office for the Middle East and North Africa in Cairo from 1997 to 2001. He was president of Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 2006 and 2007. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations from 2008 to 2013. On leave from the Kennedy School, he headed the USAID-funded Sudan Property Rights Program in 2010 and 2011, based in Juba, assisting the Government of South Sudan develop a national land policy. Dr. Lawry served as Global Practice Leader for Land Tenure and Property Rights at DAI, a Washington-based consulting group, from 2011 to 2014. He joined CIFOR in September 2014. See more

See the full schedule of PIM webinars for May-November 2017 here. 

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