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2014-07-18 | News

WCERE policy session on forest management reform

Randall Bluffstone, convenor of the WCERE 2014 forest tenure reform policy session.

Local Forest Management & Tenure Reform: Experience from Africa & Asia

EfD Research Associate Randy Bluffstone, Professor of Economics of Portland State University, chaired the policy session on 1 July 2014 at the World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists (WCERE). The presentations on forest management reform research conducted by EfD in Tanzania, Ethiopia and China addressed major issues such as how effective the reforms are in preventing deforestation and forest degradation and the impacts of different forms of forest management on communities dependent on forest resources.

Research across both continents revealed that democratic decentralisation of forest management, where the government transfers specified rights, duties, enforcement responsibilities and resources to a community, can increase incomes of communities, promote participatory decision making and improve forest cover.

During question time, some lively discussion was generated regarding the usage of payments for ecosystem services, such as those under REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

According to the UN nearly 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are released through deforestation and forest degradation. Evaluating forest management and tenure reforms aims to improve policy design which can incentivise the protection and sustainable use of forest resources. A key benefit of this is reduced emissions.

"Forest devolution, whether to communities, households or individuals, is an important worldwide trend that must be considered by those engaged in international policy processes, such as REDD+," stated Bluffstone. 

The panel consisted of three EfD researchers:

  • Elizabeth Robinson, Associate Professor, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading; 
  • Alemu Mekonnen, EfD Ethiopia Director, Environmental Economics Policy Forum for Ethiopia (EEPFE) and Associate Professor, Addis Ababa University; 
  • Juha Siikamäki, Associate Research Director and Fellow, Resources for the Future (RFF). Siikamäki presented on behalf of Jintao Xu, EfD China Director, Environmental Economics Program in China (EEPC), and Professor, National School of Development, Peking University.

By Po-Ts'an Goh

Click on the file links below to access the presentations.

Images