International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) urged for placing forests under local control to increase incomes and sustainability. In its report ‘Investing in locally controlled forestry’, IUCN observed that to increase the incomes of many of the billion forest-dependent people world-wide the current model for investment in forests must be turned on its head.
“An initiative of unprecedented scale, led by The Forests Dialogue (TFD), IUCN and the Growing Forests Partnerships (GFP), has found that optimising the benefits and productivity of forests requires moving from a ‘resource-led’ model to a ‘rights-based’ system of ‘locally controlled forestry’, that places local control of forests at the heart of the investment process,” it added.
The report was prepared after holding a series of country level dialogues engaging over 400 forest owners, investors, NGOs, governments and intergovernmental agencies within the span of over three years, which was organised by TFD and partnering with IUCN. The report shows with the right processes in place, and under the right conditions, almost any individual or group can build a successful forest enterprise.
According to it, the first step is to recognise that many forests and landscapes are inhabited by people with some form of land rights. Investors are increasingly aware they must respect these rights through recognised processes. A ‘rights-based’ system places local control at the heart of the process. Under this system, the people who own or have rights over the forest are the ones who seek investors and partnerships for managing their natural resource assets.