Asia-Pacific Forest Governance
The tropical forests of Asia and the Western Pacific are special. Their lush landscapes are havens to an astounding wealth and variety of life found nowhere else.
There are over 154 million hectares of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.
These forests don’t just benefit nature. They benefit all of us, across the entire globe. From the strong roots that bind the soil, to the fresh leaves in the canopy that create oxygen, they are essential in providing what we need to survive. They clean the air we breathe and the water we drink. By storing carbon, they combat climate change. They provide medicines, tourism and livelihoods. They are also people’s homes.
However, these forests are in trouble. Human populations are growing rapidly. Farmland is expanding and clearing vast swathes of forest, and illegal logging is a huge threat.
Empowering local people to manage and protect their forests.
We believe local people are the answer. Lead by BirdLife International and funded by the European Union, we are training people on the ground and empowering local communities, indigenous people, and NGOs to manage and protect their own forest.
We know that there is no substitute for local knowledge. Local people know the lie of the land and can see the health of the ecosystem first-hand. Therefore, it makes sense that they should play an important role in monitoring and making decisions about the forest in which they live.
Sadly, the power of local communities and indigenous people is often constrained by lack of technical knowledge, experience and political influence. The Forest Governance Project is changing that, bridging the gap between local people and the decisions made about their forest homes.
We are working hard to establish lasting results. From 2017 – 2022, we are building well-informed networks of local groups. We are training local communities in how to monitor the forests around them. We are using state-of-the-art remote sensing to establish forest-monitoring programmes. We are supporting local communities and NGOs, as they get involved in Government measures that are already in place. In addition, we are putting in place plans to ensure this continues after 2022.
How did we get here?
Human populations in Asia and the Western Pacific are growing rapidly, encroaching more and more upon the area’s precious forests. Degradation, clearing for agriculture, and illegal and unsustainable harvesting for timber are the main issues destroying these forests.
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.
The Forest Governance Forum will take place from 7-8 July 2020
in Jakarta, Indonesia. Click here to find out more.
This website has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of BirdLife International and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European union.