Harnessing the potential of community and smallholder forestry for Sustainable Development Goals

Photo showing IUFRO-WFSE Panel at the side event in UNFF12.

WFSE Side Event at UNFF12
Tuesday 2 May, 2017; Trusteeship Chamber; 1:15 - 2:45 pm

The side event focused on the significant interlinkages between community and smallholder forestry and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and launched the related WFSE Policy brief Building on synergies: Harnessing community and smallholder forestry for sustainable development goals.

Forests are relevant for almost all of the SDGs and make important contributions to the attainment of these goals. These contributions can be further strengthened. Indigenous and local communities and smallholders, who use and manage a considerable share of the world forests, have a crucial role in harnessing this potential in rural areas. Many SDGs and their targets align with the conditions that have been found to support community and smallholder forest management and related livelihoods. Meaningful progress in these SDGs can generate positive feedback loops that will support community and smallholder forestry and further boost progress towards the SDGs. Efforts to attain the SDGs can lead to synergies among the goals, but can also lead to trade-offs that can undermine livelihood and conservation goals that can be achieved through community and smallholder forestry. To realize the potential that the close interlinkages among C&SF and SDGs provide, it is necessary to address the inherent trade-offs among the SDGs and build on the synergies among them.

Community Forestry - From ethnography to SDGs - Prof. Wil de Jong, Kyoto University
Contributions and potential of community forestry to achieve SDGs - Dr. Steven Lawry, Center for International Forestry Research
Enabling environment for community and smallholder forestry and the SDGs  - Dr. Glenn Galloway, University of Florida
Linking community and smallholder forestry to SDGs - Dr. Pia Katila, Natural Resources Institute, Finland

Building on synergies: Harnessing community and smallholder forestry for Sustainable Development Goals - Policy brief for download

Photo credit:
IUFRO-WFSE Panel at the side event in UNFF12. Photo: Andre Purret, IUFRO.


The WFSE Session in the IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania focused on different forest-related approaches and mechanisms employed in Asian countries to steer development and investment towards a green economy and sustainability. It discussed how these concepts are understood and applied in different contexts and their potential for advancing sustainable development.


Forests and development: From development discourses to providing data for decision making

Mr. Pekka Puustinen, Director General, Department for Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland opened the seminar. Mr. Puustinen emphasized the importance of collaboration in the face of the significantly reduced funds for development collaboration. Both of the projects whose results are presented in this seminar clearly show that in the forest sector there is both expertise and potential for this kind of cooperation. Photo: Arttu Malkamäki
Ms. Sheryl Quail from University of Florida and the Climate Food and Farming Network concluded that REDD+ has a role to play in rapidly transitioning farmers from extensive to intensive agriculture. Photo: Arttu Malkamäki

IUFRO WFSE and FAO Finland Forestry Programme organized 1st of March 2016 an international seminar which was held in Helsinki, Finland, and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Forests have a crucial role in achieving global sustainable development. The seminar discussed some of the central processes, policies and measures to advance forest-related sustainable development and the provision of forest data for supporting it. The topics discussed included implications of sustainable development goals for forests, environmental concerns in the bioeconomy discourse, how the problem of illegal logging and its solutions are perceived across the globe, equity discourses around REDD+, and the relationship between REDD+ and agricultural intensification, as well as the implications of the climate agreement at COP21 in Paris.

Sustainable forest management can be achieved only if forest policy and management decisions are based on a monitoring system which produces up-to-date and statistically robust evidence on forest resources and their changes. The FAO Finland Forestry Programme has developed capacities and methodologies to this end in five developing countries.  Integrated land use assessment in Zambia and national forest resources assessment and monitoring in Tanzania were presented as examples.  Standardization and transparency of forestry data and information is paramount.  A good example of how to achieve this is the Open Foris software developed within the FAO-Finland Forestry Programme and presented in the seminar.

The programme of the seminar below includes links to most of the presentations.

Session I Shifting global development discourses

Session II Data provision for decision making

Presenters at the WFSE Side Event at the XIV World Forestry Congress, Durban South Africa, September 2015
Presenters at the WFSE Side Event at the XIV World Forestry Congress, Durban South Africa, September 2015. Photo: provided by Pia Katila, WFSE Coordinator.

Reflecting the great diversity of the African forest landscapes

WFSE Side Event at XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban discussed Opportunities and challenges for harnessing local forest management to improve rural livelihoods in Africa.

The presentations highlighted common elements and draw some general conclusions on the opportunities to improve rural incomes from forests and trees, and identified challenges that are shared across the continent.

The Chair of the WFSE Steering Committee Glenn Galloway moderated the event. The program included six presentations and discussion.


  • Eshetu Yirdaw, University of Helsinki, Finland: Rehabilitation of degraded forest and woodland ecosystems for livelihoods and ecosystem services in Ethiopia
  • Fernanda Tomaselli, University of British Columbia, Canada: Opportunities and challenges for small forest-based enterprises in the Gambia
  • Almeida Sitoe, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique: Community rights and participation in the face of new global interests in forests and lands: the case of Mozambique
  • Guillaume Lescuyer, CIFOR, Indonesia: How domestic timber markets contribute to local livelihoods: Insights from Central Africa?
  • Pia Katila, Natural Resources Institute Finland: Wider view on opportunities and challenges to enhance forest and tree incomes and the realities in Africa
  • Glenn Galloway, University of Florida, US: Synthesis and implications for research and development efforts

Presentations for download

Photo showing the panelists of WFSE Side event at UNFF11
WFSE Side event at UNFF11: the panelists. Photo by A Buck

WFSE Side Event at UNFF11

At the 11th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in New York, WFSE organized the side event "Enhancing forest-related development: Community and smallholder forestry in the nexus of markets, policy, and implementation". Glenn Galloway, Chair of the WFSE Steering Committee moderated the event. IUFRO Vice-president, John Parrotta presented the opening remarks, which were followed by four presentations and discussion.


  • Peter Holmgren, CIFOR, Director General: Changes that change perspectives and priorities of forests
  • Pia Katila, Natural Resources Institute, Finland: Enabling conditions for enhancing forest-based livelihoods
  • Glenn Galloway, University of Florida: Interaction among markets, policies and implementation
  • Wil de Jong, Kyoto University: The way forward in smallholder and community forestry

Presentations for download

New WFSE book Forests under pressure - Local responses to global issues

The book is the result of a collaborative work of over 140 scientist and experts who acted as authors in different capacities and over 60 reviewers. 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.

WFSE Session in the World Congress: presenting Forests under pressure - Local responses to global issues and the related Issue Brief

The session will include seven presentations: an introduction to the book, four case study presentations and two presentations that focus on the main findings of the book.

Time: Friday 10 October 8:00-10:30
Room: 250B


  • Introduction to the WFSE-project and the new book Forests under Pressure - Local Responses to Global Issues – Pia Katila
  • Community-Based Forest Management in Quintana Roo, Mexico  – Jose Antonio Sierra Huelsz
  • Forest Citizenship in Acre, Brazil – Marianne Schmink
  • Khasi Responses to Forest Pressures:  A Community REDD+ Project from Northeast India – Mark Poffenberger
  • Community rights and participation in the face of new global interests in forests and lands – the case of Mozambique – Almeida Sitoe
  • Prerequisite Conditions for Sustainable Forest Management: Synthesis of the Case Studies – Glenn Galloway
  • Forests under pressure: Possible Future Pathways – Wil de Jong
  • Discussion

Moderator: Markku Kanninen.

IUFRO-WFSE Steering Committee Meeting

The next IUFRO-WFSE Steering Committee meeting will be held 10 October 2014 in Salt Lake City, USA, in connection with the IUFRO World Congress.