Special Programme for Development of Capacities

The mission of the Special Programme for Development of Capacities (in short IUFRO-SPDC, formerly "Special Programme for Developing Countries) is "to expand and foster forest research capacity in developing and economically disadvantaged countries".

According to the programme's strategy the IUFRO-SPDC activities cover the following five priority areas:

  • Enhancing core scientific competence;
  • Improving information management and dissemination;
  • Enhancing science contribution to policy processes;
  • Promoting communication and multi-stakeholder learning processes,
  • Providing institutional support to regional forest research networks.

IUFRO-SPDC's Scientist Assistance Programme

The Scientist Assistance Programme (SAP) is designed to provide  forest scientists from economically disadvantaged countries in Africa,  Asia and Latin America with financial assistance to participate in scientific meetings and conferences organized by IUFRO’s Divisions, Research Groups and Working Parties.

Read about the general policy guidelines and what to bear in mind to take advantage of it: Information on SAP

Thematic Networking

Find out more about SPDC's thematic networking projects!

IUFRO’s thematic networking strengthens collaboration among scientists and forest experts across countries and continents, and thus also enhances the role of science in shaping forest policy and management.

IUFRO-SPDC’s networking projects are especially targeted at forest science and the forest science community in developing countries and are committed to adding value to research with a view to maximizing its output and impact on policy and on the ground forest management. This is achieved by synthesizing globally available scientific information, knowledge and expertise, publication of synthesis reports and policy briefs, as well as through knowledge-sharing workshops.

Activities and Projects in 2016

  • Forest Landscape Restoration Project

  • Teak Evaluation 2016

  • Knowledge-Sharing Workshops in Ruanda and El Salvador
    IUFRO organized an international knowledge-sharing workshop in Rwanda in July 2016 on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) with the participation of more than 60 experts from over 10 countries in Africa and overseas.
     More ...
    Another FLR workshop took place in El Salvador from 20 through 21 September 2016. More .

Activities and Projects 2015

Training Workshop on
Science-Policy Interactions “Making Science work for Forest and Landscape Restoration”

Hotel City Lodge, Durban, South Africa, 4-6 September 2015
IUFRO’s Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC) in collaboration with the World Resources Institute is organizing a 3-day training workshop on science-policy interactions for forest and landscape restoration in conjunction with the World Forestry Congress. More ...

Activities and Projects 2014

IUFRO-SPDC Pre-Congress Training Workshops

in connection with the XXIV IUFRO World Congress 2014

29 September-3 October 2014 in Snowbird, Utah, USA
Venue: Snowbird Resort (around 40 km out of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

The Special Programme for Development of Capacities (IUFRO-SPDC) of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) has a long history of organising Training Workshops on pertinent subjects relevant to forest scientists from developing countries in conjunction with large IUFRO conferences and congresses. The IUFRO World Congress 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America constituted another ideal opportunity for providing training to selected participants in special skills regarding knowledge generation and science communication.  

In designing its capacity building programmes IUFRO-SPDC makes use of IUFRO’s global network of forest institutions of research and higher education by bringing together state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, expertise and resource persons available in virtually all regions of the world. In this way, IUFRO-SPDC training workshops offer great opportunities to individual scientists for exchanging knowledge, learning from each other and thus expanding research capacity and forest science cooperation.

More information ...

Activities and Projects 2013


Training Workshop
22-24 October, 2013 in Thimphu, Bhutan

"Working effectively at the Interface of Forest Science and Forest Policy"

Also visit our blog and read "Bringing Science to the People".

IUFRO-SPDC in collaboration with the Renewable Natural Resources Research and Development Center Yusipang of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Science (BOKU), Vienna, Austria organised a three-day training workshop on “Working Effectively at the Interface of Forest Science and Forest Policy”.

The workshop was implemented within the framework of the Bhutan-Austria Project on  “Climate change adaptation potentials of forests in Bhutan - Building human capacities and knowledge base (BC-CAP).” The three-day training event aimed at providing concepts and methods to researchers on how to plan, conduct, and organize research activities so that research results can be more quickly and easily transformed into usable information for problem-solving and policy-making. Read more about the workshop content and results ...


Tercer Congreso Latinoamericano de IUFRO y Taller Pre-Congreso

9 al 15 de Junio 2013

Comunicando la Ciencia Forestal – Poniendo la Ciencia al Servicio de la Política y el Manejo

El Programa Especial para Países en Desarrollo de IUFRO (IUFRO-SPDC) está celebrando el taller pre-congreso "Comunicando la Ciencia Forestal  – Poniendo la Ciencia al Servicio de la Política y el Manejo”para científicos forestales jóvenes con interés en que los resultados de su investigación sean aplicados en las prácticas de manejo forestal. Se celebra el taller en el hotel “Palma Real”, San José, Costa Rica, del 09 al 11 de junio 2013) vinculado al III Congreso Forestal Latinoamericano (del 12 al 15 de junio 2013).

IUFRO-SPDC ha organizado el taller con el apoyo de instructores de formación científica provenientes de Chile y Costa Rica. 

Se ha ofrecido la participación en el taller a los particpantes elegidos para el programa
el programa de asistencia a científicos (SAP) del Congreso.


On-going Projects

EcoAdapt:  “Ecosystem-based strategies and innovations in governance networks for adaptation to climate change in Latin American Landscapes”

Project coordinator: CIRAD (France)
Research Partners: CATIE (Costa Rica–CATIE is also Regional Coordinator), SEI (Oxford, UK), The Global Network for Forest Science Cooperation (IUFRO, Austria)

The project was initiated in January 2012 and is financed by the European Union for a period of four years. The project’s overall objective is to develop ecosystem-based strategies of adaption to climate change in three model forests in Latin America: Chiquitano in Bolivia, Jujuy in Argentina, and Araucarias de Alto Malleco in Chile.

More ...


2-Year Cooperation between ITTO and IUFRO

Strengthening the capacity of ITTO producer countries in Africa in generating and disseminating scientific information on Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services from Forests (REDDES)

Project Partners: International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), International Union of Forest Research Institutions (IUFRO), Forestry Research Network for Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA), Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD, Cameroon), Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG, Ghana), Forestry Development Authority (FDA, Liberia), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN, Nigeria), African Forest Forum (AFF)

2012 – 2013 (24 months)

ITTO; IUFRO through US-Forest Service and Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This project is about supporting ITTO producer countries in Africa to dealing with the challenges of reducing deforestation and enhancing the rehabilitation of degraded tropical forests. In line with ITTO's objective and Thematic Program on REDDES, the project generates scientific information on specific REDDES pilot areas in Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria, disseminates this information to policy makers and forest practitioners at the national and regional level through science-policy interactions in close cooperation with the African Forest Forum. Regional networking and capacity building is further strengthened by jointly organising a regional forest congress for forest scientists, policy makers and other forest stakeholders, in order to mainstream project results, foster regional cooperation through FORNESSA and AFF, and strengthen the role of ITTO in the African region.

For more information please visit: www.fornis.net


Activities and Projects in 2012

IUFRO-FORNESSA Regional Congress & ITTO/AFF Forest Policy Day
Nairobi, Kenya, June 25-30, 2012

Scientist Assistance Programme &
Pre-Congress Training Workshops (23-24 June, 2012)

Scientist Assistance Programme
The Scientist Assistance Program (SAP) was designed to offer delegates from Sub-Saharan African countries financial assistance (congress registration fee, flight ticket, accommodation and subsistence) to participate in the first IUFRO-FORNESSA Regional Congress. Support packages were offered in relation with the Pre-Congress Training Workshops organised by the IUFRO Special Programme for Developing Countries (IUFRO-SPDC) and Global Forest Information Service (GFIS). In total 82 forest scientists from more than 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa attended the congress.

Pre-Congress Training Workshops
As part of IUFRO’s capacity building programme for young and mid-career scientists, IUFRO-SPDC in cooperation with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute organised the following two training workshops prior to the Congress from 23 to 24 June, 2012:

    This training targeted young scientists from African countries in need to expand their skills in mobilising funding for their research. The content of the training workshop is available for download here.

    The workshop has been designed for early and mid-career scientists/research managers from African countries interested in learning more about effective science communication. For details please see the workshop report.

Activities and Projects 2011

Sector Network Rural Development, Africa
Enhancing Adaptation of Forests and People in Africa
Development of Pilot Cases for Selected Forest Ecosystems in Ghana and Malawi
Prepared by: Forestry Research Network of Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA)
Lead Authors: Ernest Foli and Steve Makungwa
Editor: Michael Kleine
Available for download here.

Training Workshop
Prior to the 2nd Asia Pacific Forestry Week
Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing, 4 and 5 November, 2011

IUFRO-SPDC in close cooperation with the IUFRO Working Party 9.01.02 Communication and Public Relations organised a training workshop on "Communicating forest research - making science work for policy and management" on 4 and 5 November, 2011 in Beijing, China.

Have a look at the workshop report. The Training Workshop was open for early or mid-career scientists from IUFRO or APAFRI member organizations in the Asia Pacific Region.

More ...

Taller de capacitación pre-congreso "Trabajando efectivamente en la Interfaz entre la Ciencia y la Política Forestal” y Congreso Latinoaméricano de Derecho Forestal y Ambiental
Colegio de Abogados, San José, Costa Rica
Taller: 24 -25 de octubre 2011
Congreso:26 - 28 de octubre 2011

El Programa Especial para Países en Desarrollo de IUFRO (IUFRO-SPDC) invitó a participar a científicos y asesores políticos al taller pre-congreso "Trabajando efectivamente en la Interfaz entre la Ciencia y la Política Forestal”  y en el Congreso Latinoaméricano de Derecho Forestal y Ambiental. IUFRO-SPDC organizó el taller con el apoyo del Grupo de Trabajo de Derecho Forestal y Ambiental Latinoamericano (6.13.01) y con instructores de formación científica y política, provenientes de Chile y Costa Rica. 

IUFRO-SPDC, con el apoyo financiero del Gobierno de Finlandia, tuvo a disposición un número limitado de becas para investigadores provenientes de América Latina y el Caribe.

Más ...

Post-Symposium Training Workshop
Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, 13 and 14 February, 2011

IUFRO-SPDC in cooperation with the Punjab Agriculture University organised a training workshop on science-policy interfacing.
This workshop was open for participants of the IUFRO Symposium on “Short Rotation Forestry: Synergies for Wood Production and Environmental Amelioration” and was held at the same venue from 10 to 12 February 2011.

More ...

Activities and Projects 2010


  • IUFRO-SPDC Pre-Congress Training Workshops
    within the framework of the XIII IUFRO World Congress
    in Seoul, Korea, 2010

    • Forests and Climate Change
    • Traditional Forest Knowledge
    • Forests and Water Interactions
    • Forests and Human Health


  • The IUFRO Special Programme for Developing Countries (IUFRO-SPDC) and GFEP initiated in autumn 2009 the preparation of a regional policy brief "Making African Forests Fit for Climate Change" in collaboration with the thematic group "Forest and climate change” of the Forestry Research Network for Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA). The policy brief is based on a detailed analysis of relevant information contained in the global assessment report and more than 250 additional literature references identified by the African experts. It aims to contribute to the development of effective adaptation strategies in Africa and facilitate related international efforts.

    The policy brief "Making African Forests Fit for Climate Change" was formally presented at the 14th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity, held from 10 to 21 May 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya.



SPDC News:

  • Scientific Publication Project "Keep Asia Green"
    More about this project ...
    Keep Asia Green publications are now available online!