Despite broad acknowledgement of the importance of forests for poverty alleviation, forestry activities have not been effectively integrated into poverty reduction programmes in many economies in the Asia-pacific region. To assist forestry agencies in strategic planning and developing means to reduce poverty through sustainable forest management and forest rehabilitation, APFNet funded a project entitled:” Making forestry work for the poor: Adapting forest policies to poverty alleviation strategies in Asia and the Pacific.” The project, which was undertook by FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific ( FAO-RAP) and coordinated by Asia Forest Network (AFN), was completed with a duration of 20 month.
To document methods and means by which poverty has been effectively reduced in the Asia-Pacific region, a study on Assessment of the Contribution of Forestry to Poverty Alleviation in Asia and the Pacific was conducted. A final report including eleven country study reports, covered Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indian, Indonesia, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, and eleven summary reports of national workshops were delivered.
Assessed in terms of three broad area of forestry—community forestry, commercial and industrial forestry and payments for environmental services and carbon payment, the study shows the overall contribution of forestry to the people’s livelihoods and well-being remains limited, despite the priority to poverty alleviation in the forestry sector. In some cases, forestry activities even created or aggravated poverty situations in affected communities.
In the study, experts suggest that forest tenure and forest management rights should be allocated to households to increase the contribution of forestry. Secure tenure and clear management rights act as a guarantee and an incentive to individuals, families or communities involved.
They also point out capacity building and support for community enterprises are also in great need. Access to skills training and information is requisites in promoting the establishment of local enterprises. Related actions can also include the simplification of regulations on resource harvesting and marketing; providing credit and finance and marketing support; and support for the development of mutually beneficial partnerships between forestry companies and communities.
Key findings from the study were shared with representatives from forestry departments of the focal countries as well as regional partners, as part of the effort of promoting the poverty reduction agenda in the forestry sector in a partner event during the Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week.