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Making Forests Pay: Conclusion

Forests worldwide have suffered hugely from the strains created by rapid economic development. Their disappearance is threatening the communities that depend on natural forests for their livelihoods and affects 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.

The last 15 years has witnessed a gradual, if profound shift in approaches to forest management from a government led “command and control” to joint community/state management partnerships. There is some evidence that such approaches have been successful at reversing deforestation in areas that were at significant risk in the past (Chatre & Agrawal, 2009).

Farm Africa has been an important actor in this endeavour in Ethiopia and, to a lesser degree, Tanzania, where it has helped systematise the approach and find acceptable compromises between stakeholders to deliver a model that governments could ‘own’. It has 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 made progress in deepening women’s involvement but recognise this as an area where we still have some way to go.

Given the urgency of the need for sustainable solutions and growing pressure on increasingly precious resources, the imperative of addressing sustainable financing models has never been greater. We have made great strides in linking forest users to markets, including emerging markets for ecosystem services.

We have laid the foundations for the development of several value chains, a successful REDD+ 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.

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