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Making Forests Pay

July 2015

A new report by Farm Africa shows promising results for the Participatory Forest Management (PFM) approach that emphasises joint partnerships between local forest communities and government.

The report, Making forest conservation benefit local communities: participatory forest management in Ethiopia, outlines how PFM is proving successful in giving local people an economic incentive to sustainably manage and protect forests.

Forests worldwide have suffered hugely from rapid economic development. Their disappearance is threatening the communities that depend on them, affecting the water supply to lowland areas. Deforestation is accompanied by a significant loss of biodiversity and is responsible for the accelerated release of carbon to the atmosphere.

Since the mid-1990s, Farm Africa has been leading the development and application of a new approach to forest management that emphasises joint partnerships between local forest communities and government.

Instead of trying to protect forests by keeping people out or encouraging them to do other activities, Participatory Forest Management (PFM) seeks to strike a balance between forest conservation and the economic activities of local people that depend on them.

Farm Africa has been at the forefront of developing a system that uses economic incentives to help forest conservation. In Ethiopia especially, we have helped refine the approach and find acceptable compromises between stakeholders to deliver a model that governments can ‘own’.

We have supported local government partners to embed the approach in practice, and policy makers to embed it in legislation. PFM is now being applied successfully in a range of contexts, beyond Ethiopia, and we have worked hard to adapt it where appropriate.

We have laid the foundations for the development of several value chains, a successful REDD+ project in Ethiopia and have initiated a number of payment for ecosystems services schemes in both Ethiopia and Tanzania. The next step on the evolutionary journey remains to be seen, but Farm Africa is committed to continuing to drive and develop the PFM model to deliver the best outcomes for forest communities in all our countries of operation and beyond.

Click on the links below for a detailed breakdown of each stage of the report or download the report in full (PDF file, 544KB).

Key messages

Key messages

Farm Africa has been at the forefront of developing a system that uses economic incentives to help forest conservation.

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Context

Context

Today less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century.

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PFM

PFM

Farm Africa pioneered the introduction of Participatory Forest Management (PFM) in Ethiopia in the mid-1990s.

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Impacts

Impacts

In Chilimo, satellite imagery shows that deforestation has been halted and forest condition restored.

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Future Pathways

Future Pathways

Providing incentives to halt deforestation is an important part of the global climate change agreement.

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Conclusions

Conclusions

PFM is now being applied successfully in a range of contexts, beyond Ethiopia, and we have worked hard to adapt it.

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Appendix 1: Case study

Appendix 1: Case study

A PFM project in Benishangul Gumuz is helping the government extend this approach to other forests.

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References/Acknowledgements

References/Acknowledgements

The key documents and data supporting the report.

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Nou Forest blog

Nou Forest blog

Dominic Timms reports from Tanzania's Nou Forest, where Farm Africa is working with local communities to develop forest-friendly enterprises.

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