Community-Led Forest Management Can Reduce Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Where the rights of communities to manage and benefit from good stewardship are clearly defined and respected, communities can play an important, leading role in achieving climate change mitigation objectives. According to the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources, since 2009, a pilot REDD+ project supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has resulted in measurable increases in sequestered carbon and payments to communities.

One hundred and twelve Community Forestry User Groups, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Federation of Community Forest Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) are collaborating to implement the project. A key factor in its success to-date may be the Forest Carbon Trust Fund (FCTF) established in 2001, which included development of an institutional mechanism to ensure equitable benefit sharing and forest carbon payments to local communities. Communities are managing forest areas and receiving training to monitor the resulting carbon sequestered.

The pilot demonstrates that when community rights to manage and benefit from forests are recognized and supported with training and other resources, community-led forest management has the potential to achieve REDD+ objectives.