Special Project on World Forests, Society and Environment (IUFRO-WFSE)

WFSE is an open, global, network of scientists, experts and practitioners. It provides an independent platform for broad participation and collaboration. WFSE supports sustainable forest-related development, livelihoods and inclusive growth as well as related policy processes through international collaboration in knowledge generation and exchange. The network is steered by ten international research and development organisations and universities. The coordination is provided by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).   

WFSE focuses on topics recognised by the scientific community as important and having significant policy implications but appear not to be receiving adequate attention from the policy community. WFSE addresses such topics in a holistic, interdisciplinary manner, producing science-based, future-oriented, policy-relevant information mainly focusing on two main efforts:  1) collating, critically analysing, and synthesising existing scientific knowledge on topics of international relevance in the forest, society, and environment interface in order to draw out important lessons learned and recommendations and 2) undertaking new research to fill in crucial gaps in existing knowledge.

WFSE produces and disseminates scientific publications, policy and information briefs, and capacity-building materials. Important science-based findings are presented in international forest-related meetings and conferences and disseminated to a wide audience of scientists, policy-makers and opinion leaders, professionals, and the public, including educational programs and organisations involved in forestry development activities.

All interested individuals and organisations are welcome to collaborate and contribute to the project's activities. The main criterion for accepting contributions is the scientific quality of the work.

IUFRO-WFSE gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland as well as the support and in-kind contributions of all IUFRO-WFSE partner organisations.

IUFRO-WFSE sponsors:

Logos of Sponsors of IUFRO-WFSE

IUFRO-WFSE partners:



During the last decade new narratives have emerged within sustainable development discourse with catchphrases like: "Green Economy", "Inclusive Green Growth", "Low Carbon Development", "Climate-Smart Agriculture" and "Sustainable Intensification". The myriad of understandings of e.g. "low carbon development", "green growth" and "green economy" cover a spectrum from narrow concerns about climate change and clean energy supply at one extreme to calls for more extensive transformative change in the global economic system for more efficient resource use at the other, including more sustainable and inclusive commodity supply with improved equity in benefit sharing. Although their scope and horizon vary and are still unknown, these narratives suggest new rationalities and approaches to sustainable development. The roles of forests and forestry in these narratives and their implications on forests and livelihoods have received very little scholarly attention. The IUFRO WFSE focus on the new environmental development narratives, agendas and practice will generate new knowledge, guidelines and instruments to inform forest policy dialogue and formulation and practice for both public agencies and business sectors.

The call for papers on this theme is now closed. It generated altogether 30 abstracts. Accepted contributions will be published in an extensive Special Issue in the International Forestry Review early 2017. The Guest Editors for this Special Issue are Pia Katila, Wil de Jong, Glenn Galloway, Pablo Pacheco.

WFSE Publications

Latest Publications

Incentives and Constraints of Community and Smallholder Forestry

This Special Issue includes nine case study articles and an editorial. The papers draw on case studies from tropical Latin America, Africa, and Asia. They analyse community and smallholder efforts to achieve different forest related objectives and outcomes stemming from these efforts. They examine in-depth a number of relevant topics, such as the conditions shaping forest dependency, mechanisms through which rural livelihoods can be improved through forests, and implications for forest outcomes, when forests are targeted to support people's livelihoods, while also providing local and global environmental services. These concerns are of high relevance to debates exploring potential synergies and trade-offs between sustainable development and climate change. The articles link together two strands of the debate on community forestry by examining both local communities' and smallholders' dependency on forests and the contribution of forests to development.

The articles of the special issues are accessible at:

Issue Brief: Management of natural tropical forests for the future

Available for download in English.

Forests under pressure – Local responses to global issues

Katila, P., Galloway, G., de Jong, W., Pacheco, P., Mery, G. (eds.). 2014. Forests under pressure – Local responses to global issues. IUFRO World Series Volume 32. Vienna. 561p.

ISBN 978-3-902762-30-6

Building on 27 case studies from different parts of the world the book focuses on conditions that foster or hinder progress towards SFM and forest-related development. The case studies use a common analytical framework of prerequisite conditions to examine the implementation of SFM. The analysis allows distinguishing prerequisite conditions and combinations of conditions that foster or constrain progress towards SFM and sustainable local development, and the interactions among these conditions.

The chapters of the book can be downloaded here.

The complete publication is available for download here.

Issue Brief: Synergistic policies and measures are the key to advancing sustainable forest management and forest-based development

Available for download in:

Previous Publications

Policy Brief: Making Boreal Forests Work for People and Nature

(Policy brief 2012References)

Desafíos de los bosques amazónicos y oportunidades para el manejo forestal comunitario

Wil de Jong y Gerardo Mery (editores). 2011. CIAS Discussion Paper 20, IUFRO Occasional Paper 25. 55 p. ISBN 978-3-902762-11-5.

Available for download here

Policy brief: Making forests work for people and nature – Responding to global drivers of change.

Available for download in:
English, French and Spanish

Forest and Society – Responding to Global Drivers of Change

Mery, G., Katila, P., Galloway, G., Alfaro, R.I., Kanninen, M., Lobovikov, M. and Varjo, J. (eds.). 2010. IUFRO World Series Volume 25. Vienna. 509 p.
ISBN 978-3-901347-93-1

The chapters of the book can be downloaded here.

Summary presentations of the different chapters of the book can be downloaded here.

Asian Forests: Working for People and Nature. Policy Brief.

Available for download here.

Making Sub-Saharan Forests Work for People and Nature

(Policy brief 2009 - References)



Making Latin American Forests Work for People and Nature

(Policy Brief in English and Spanish - 2009)

Making European Forests Work for People and Nature

(Policy Brief 2007)

Forests in the Global Balance – Changing Paradigms

Gerardo Mery, René Alfaro, Markku Kanninen, Maxim Lobovikov (eds.). 2005.
IUFRO World Series Volume 17. Helsinki. 318 p.

ISBN 3-901347-55-0 ISSN 1016-3263

Summaries of "Forests in the Global Balance" chapters as Capacity Building Material, 2006

Policy Brief in 3 languages, 2005

  • Policy Brief: Forests for the New Millennium – making forests work for people and nature
  • Énoncé de politique: Des Forêts pour le Noveau Millénaire – des forêts à gérer dans l’intérêt des gens et la nature
  • Resumen de políticas: Bosques para el Nuevo Milenio – Bosques que beneficien a la gente y sustenten la naturaleza