The overall objective of the proposed action research is to make participatory forest management (PFM) approaches more “pro-poor”. PFM is taken to include community forestry, joint forest management, co-management and community-based forest management.
Almost all countries in Africa, and many in Asia, are promoting the participation of rural communities in the management and utilization of natural forests and woodlands through some form of PFM. There is an expectation that PFM can bring substantial benefits in terms of livelihood security and poverty reduction, as well as providing important indirect benefits to the poor in terms of improved local governance and empowerment. At the same time, there is growing concern that PFM approaches may not be as pro-poor as they could be and that, in some cases, poor people may be actively disadvantaged by PFM initiatives.
This study will seek to demonstrate, through case study areas in Tanzania, Kenya, Nepal and Vietnam, the extent to which PFM is indeed benefiting poorer segments of society, and highlight the ways in which PFM programmes and supporting policies could promote more pro-poor PFM and be recognised in national-level planning (e.g. Poverty Reduction Strategies and national forest programmes).