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profor logo Newsletter Issue Three
Program on Forests (PROFOR)

June 2010 Highlights

The Program on Forests is dedicated to supporting timely, in-depth forests policy analysis, research and processes that support the following goals: improving people’s livelihoods; enhancing forest governance and law enforcement; financing sustainable forest management; and coordinating forest policy with other sectors.

In the first 6 months of 2010, PROFOR hosted a number of exciting learning and capacity building events, from a keynote speech by Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, to a forest governance workshop in Kampala, Uganda – and many things in between. Below we highlight PROFOR’s most recent contributions to the hot topic of the year: the role of forests as the world struggles to curb carbon emissions and respond to climate change. We also provide a heads-up on imminent publications, upcoming events and recently launched activities.


Read, discuss and, if a subject is close to your heart, don’t forget to write!

--PROFOR Secretariat

Different hues of REDD

"To achieve long-term reductions in deforestation across the region, REDD+ will have to be pro-poor," writes the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in a report published in May 2010. What would a pro-poor REDD scheme look like? At a time when more and more global initiatives are taking on the challenges of deforestation and climate change, the question is more than an intellectual exercise -- it invites soul-searching among multilateral and bilateral development agencies whose main mission remains the fight against world poverty. Because of its long-standing interest in exploring the linkages between forests and livelihoods, PROFOR is well placed to begin looking for answers.

In the drylands of eastern and southern Africa, an area that covers 11 countries and counts about 100 million inhabitants, the interdependence of people and forests is brought into stark relief. According to REDD+ in dryland forests, an IIED report financed by PROFOR, about 75 million of these people are poor and rely on woodlands as a resource and a safety net in times of stress. Deforestation is linked to the conversion of woodland for agriculture and settlement, the extraction of fuelwood to meet household, urban and sometimes industrial purposes, and the extraction of hardwood timber -- along with the development of roads, mining and economic centers that attract migrants.

Exploitation of the woodlands for agriculture, timber and energy has not contributed to widespread poverty alleviation. But conservation of the woodlands would still have opportunity costs for land managers and users that need to be taken into account. To change the behavior of farmers, payments for avoided deforestation and degradation will have to match or exceed the benefits from other land uses.

The organization Forest Trends comes at the same question from a different angle -- the angle of monitoring. Even if land-carbon project developers are well intentioned and eager to build "pro-poor REDD" schemes, how will we know with any certainty whether the schemes are benefiting local people? Supported by PROFOR, Forest Trends has formed an alliance with three other NGOs – the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), Rainforest Alliance, and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) – to produce a user-friendly Manual for project proponents on how to conduct cost-effective and credible social impact assessment. Additional support for this project has come from Morgan Stanley, NORAD, GEF-UNDP, and USAID-Translinks. Forest Trends released an initial version of its manual in June 2010 and is seeking feedback.

Elinor Ostrom Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom shared her views on REDD at a workshop in Washington DC. Citing worldwide research, she emphasized that the single greatest factor determining the fate of forests was not their ownership structure, the creation of protected areas -- or even the particular genius of international negotiators -- but the degree of involvement of local communities. People with forest management and harvesting rights are more likely to monitor their backyard resources and alert officials when rules are broken. Unless local people take an active interest in their forests, the forests will be lost, she said.

The two-day workshop sponsored by PROFOR in April 2010 brought together development practitioners and civil society organizations working primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean and Nepal to learn from Mexico’s extensive community forestry experience. About 65% of the forests in Mexico are owned collectively and about half of the country’s 13 million forest-dwelling people live below the poverty line. Efforts to mitigate climate change through REDD+ schemes in Latin America, where land use change and deforestation contribute most to climate change, will need to build on these local communities. Presentations are available in Spanish and English online.

Ostrom's views may be indicative of a wider trend. Far from the high-density forests of the Amazon and the Congo basin, degraded lands are receiving increasing attention. Restoration of degraded lands has the potential to improve livelihoods, enhance carbon stocks, and contribute to food security, while helping landscapes and communities adapt to climate change. PROFOR is supporting work to assess forest landscape restoration potential in Ghana.

In June 2010, PROFOR also hosted a fascinating discussion at the World Bank around the subject of of agroforestry --combining crops with trees that both increase yields and sequester carbon. A Q&A with Dr. Dennis Garrity, Director General of the World Agroforestry Center, is available online. Dennis Garrity


How can ICT strengthen forest governance? Share your thoughts
Modern information technology, including remote sensing and field level applications, has in many fields proven its value in promoting good, transparent and equitable governance. Efficient dissemination of forest-related information can also be done through more traditional media if properly planned. PROFOR is supporting a World Bank study looking at successful applications of information technology and management in forest governance. One such application, hand-held devices that help track logs along the chain of custody, was presented by a software provider on May 5, 2010 at the Bank. A Q&A with the founder of Helveta, a UK-based software company active in the timber trade, is available online.
The study’s main author Tuukka Castren invites readers to send in examples of noteworthy ICT contributions to forest governance. Please get in touch by email: tcastren [at]

Narrowing down forest governance indicators -- Stockholm, September 13-14, 2010
A good diagnostic tool can establish a baseline for forest governance and help identify areas for reform in a non-prescriptive manner, building consensus among stakeholders. PROFOR and FAO are organizing a symposium in Stockholm in September during which various forest agencies will work on defining a common basket of indicators to avoid duplication of efforts. This follows field testing of governance-related questions in Uganda among public servants, academics, journalists, parliamentarians and private entrepreneurs that took place in Kampala on 15-16 June.

Upcoming publication: Global land acquisition study
Klaus Deininger, lead economist with the Bank’s Development Economics group, presented preliminary findings from a global land acquisition study partly supported by PROFOR. His presentation (“The global land rush: Getting down to the facts”) opened the Bank’s annual Land Policy and Administration Conference in Washington DC in April 2010. The trend toward land conversion to meet the world's growing appetite for food, feed, biofuel, and pulp and paper is unlikely to slow and will create strong pressure on the world's forests. The final report will be published in the second half of 2010. PROFOR provided initial, catalytic support for this study because of concerns about the impact of land acquisition measures on forests, but the work has grown in scope and content, and has provided a framework for the development of a series of ‘good practice’ principles to help guide governments’ response to land acquisition pressures.

Focus on forests and fragile states
Timber is one of many natural resources that can exacerbate conflict or sustain peace. The next World Bank flagship publication, the World Development Report for 2011 on Conflict, Security and Development, is expected to draw on PROFOR-supported analysis. PROFOR financed several background notes including two now available online: Transnational crime, Social networks and Forests: Using natural resources to finance conflicts and post‐conflict violence, and Forests and Conflict: the financial flows that fuel war.


PROFOR launched 15 new knowledge activities since January 2010. Please read the list carefully and let us know if any of these activities complement your work.

Auditing timber supply to the forest industry in Guatemala -- to to prevent and combat illegal logging in forestlands and protected areas.

Certification as a tool for sustainable forest management and good governance in South East Asia -- to examine linkages between certification/verification and forest law enforcement and how they might be strengthened.

Desert cloud forests in Yemen and Oman- adapting a unique ecosystem to climate change -- to develop proposals for sustainable integrated forest management that would benefit both the Cloud Forests and the welfare of local communities that depend on them, keeping in mind climate uncertainties

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Public Spending in the Forestry Sector -- to build a body of global good practices as it relates to the preparation of public expenditure reviews in the forestry sector.

Forests and fragile states -- to provide a critical review and synthesis of some of the key issues and policies associated with forests, fragile states and conflict, and to develop guidance about how these issues might be addressed in future policy and development lending discussions.

Forest Connect, Phase II -- to test and enrich the guidance modules of a previously completed toolkit facilitating support for small and medium forest enterprises in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Mozambique and Nepal.

Forest governance and transparency in Peru, Phase II -- to support forest policy development and legislative change that includes community participation.

Forest landscape restoration in Ghana -- to assess and harness the potential of forest landscape restoration in a country seeking to reduce emissions from forest degradation.

Impact of artisanal and small-scaled mining in protected areas -- to analyze the impacts of artisanal mining activities on two national parks (Minkebe NP in Gabon and Sapo NP in Liberia) and offer recommendations on how to reconcile socio-economic development and environmental preservation.

Information technology and management in forest governance -- innovations for improved forestry outcomes -- to identify best practices in the application of information management and technology.

Innovative financing for sustainable forest management in the Southwest Balkans -- to assess the benefits of sustainable upland forest and land management on downstream water users and increasing the use and efficiency of firewood to reduce the use of fossil fuels and hence greenhouse gas emissions.

Making benefit sharing arrangements work for forest dependent communities – insights for REDD initiatives -- to inform the design of benefit sharing arrangements in REDD arranegements by helping identify legitimate beneficiaries and appropriate distribution mechanisms.

National timber yield tables for mahogany in Guatemala and Peru -- to provide technical assistance and prevent "laundering" of illegal mahogany.

Reform of state forest management in Northeast China -- to help draw a roadmap for policy and institutional reforms in key state forest management areas in Northeast China, to promote the transformation of practices toward economic viability, sustainable forest resource management, and local livelihood security.

South-South cooperation and knowledge sharing for REDD in Latin America and the Caribbean -- to improve the REDD readiness process in participant countries.



Forest law enforcement and governance work recognized at awards ceremony
The Bank’s forest law enforcement and governance experts were recognized for their work improving forest governance for better development outcomes at a World Bank Governance and Anti-Corruption event in May 2010. The team includes staff from PROFOR’s Secretariat Nalin Kishor, Sr. Nat. Res. Economist and Tuukka Castren, Sr. Forestry Specialist, as well as Gerhard Dieterle, Forest Advisor,Michel De Galbert, Sr. Forestry Specialist, Elizabeth Cushion, former Junior Professional Associate,Edgardo Maravi, Consultant, Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura,Consultant, and Kenneth Rosenbaum, Consultant.

PROFOR will benefit from this expertise as it expands its governance portfolio and builds on activities previously funded by the European Union’s FLEG trust fund. Notable recent activities include the development of realistic conversion factors relating the volume of mahogany sawnwood exports to standing tree roundwood volumes. This enables better monitoring of harvested volumes through export controls. Mahogany trade is highly profitable and attractive to illegal operators. Some countries use (deliberately) erroneous conversion factors to justify high Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) export quotas or conceal the amount of illegal harvest. The newly developed conversion tables, based on realistic factors, expose this practice. The team is currently sponsoring the development of national tables, based on the same methodology, for Peru and Guatemala.

New faces

thomas sembres Thomas Sembres joined the PROFOR team in February 2010 as a consultant. He previously worked in Europe for a network of philanthropic foundations interested in strategies to reduce deforestation in the Congo Basin and East Africa. He also worked in Ethiopia at the Economic Commission for Africa, and provided training on payments for environmental services in Gabon (Government) and in France (for the Master of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, Paris). He holds an MPhil in Environmental Policy from Cambridge University.

fdp Flore de Préneuf joined PROFOR in April 2010, replacing Anne Gillet as the partnership’s communications officer. A French-American citizen, she brings to the job a background in journalism and photography as well as four years’ experience managing and editing World Bank websites. One of her first tasks will be to reorganize PROFOR’s online presence to take advantage of recent advances in database management and social media. In the meantime, please share suggestions, pet-peeves and creative ideas with her by email: fdepreneuf [at] and interact with PROFOR on twitter.

Twitter Forest ideas is PROFOR’s new moniker on Twitter. We take an active interest in news and stories that relate to forests and look forward to expanding our online conversation with the broader forest community. Please follow us and use our network to share relevant information:

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