Several regional and sub-regional networks and initiatives aim to promote science collaboration and coordination in Africa. The Forestry Research Network for Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA) is a forum federating the main three sub-regional forestry research networks: AFREA (Association of Forestry Research Institutions of East Africa); CORAF/WECARD (the forestry network of the West and Central Africa Agricultural Research and Development); and SADC-FANR (the Research Unit of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sector of the Southern Africa Development Community). FORNESSA’s goal is to support and strengthen forestry research in order to contribute to the conservation and sustainable management and utilization of forest resources in sub-Saharan Africa. FORNESSA currently extends to about 130 institutions within countries south of the Sahara desert.

A close working relationship exists between IUFRO, FORNESSA and the sub-regional forestry research networks, particularly through IUFRO-SPDC. The secretary of FORNESSA acts as the IUFRO-SPDC Regional Coordinator for Africa. The collaboration in sub-Saharan Africa includes the following activities:

  • Participation of African scientists in IUFRO Research Groups, Working Parties and Task Forces (e.g. 7.03.09, Task Force on PR in Forest Science);
  • Capacity development events such as training courses and workshops organized jointly by IUFRO-SPDC and FORNESSA partner institutions;
  • Collaborative thematic research networking (e.g. the scientific synthesis on "Rehabilitation of degraded lands in Africa").

Through a 1 million Euro grant provided by the European Commission IUFRO-SPDC, from 2000 to 2004 assisted FORNESSA in building the African component of the Global Forest Information Service (“GFIS Africa Project