About Asia-Pacific Forest Governance

Engaging with local communities in Papua New Guinea © Mark Hanlin / Tenkile Conservation Alliance

 

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The problem

Human populations in Asia and the Western Pacific are growing rapidly, encroaching more and more upon the area’s precious forests. These forests are being degraded or completely cleared by agricultural expansion, illegal logging and the unsustainable harvesting of timber.

Governments have already put in place measures to stem forest loss across Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and The Philippines. All four countries are involved in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) strategies, and the Philippines and Indonesia have passed moratoriums to tackle unsustainable expansion of agriculture and illegal logging.

However, imposing rules from the top down is not enough. Despite positive intentions, in practice, forest conservation is being constrained by weak governance. Limited enforcement, corruption and lack of accountability has hampered government efforts to conserve the area’s forests.

Local communities and indigenous people should be key players in forest conservation activities. However, despite being the ones on the ground who are directly impacted by these decisions, their involvement is constrained by lack of technical knowledge, experience and political influence.

 

Papua New Guinean culture and conservation © Mark Hanlin / Tenkile Conservation Alliance

The Project

The Asia-Pacific Forest Governance Project believes local people are the answer. Lead by BirdLife International and funded by the European Union, we aim to train people on the ground, empowering local communities, indigenous people and NGOs to manage and protect their own forest.

From 2017 – 2021, we will be working hard to establish lasting results. We will be building well-informed networks of local groups. We will be training local communities in how to monitor the forests around them. We will use state-of-the-art remote sensing to establish forest monitoring programmes. And we will support local communities as they get involved in the Government measures that are already in place.

 

 

The Solution

If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Maybe not, but with new state-of-the-art remote sensing technology, we can certainly see it. Global Forest Watch is a revolutionary new app that uses satellites to watch over the earth’s forest canopies. When one pixel in their image changes, which could signify trees being felled, the app alerts the user so that they can respond.

This technology will be rolled out to local partners in the field. Their findings are then used to bring about real policy change – an approach that is truly local to global. And this is just one of many ways we will be strengthening those on the ground.

From the local eyes and ears on the forest floor, to the satellites above the treetops, the Asia-Pacific Forest Governance Project will ensure that these precious forests are protected from roots to canopy. 

 

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