BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (29 June, 2011)_Understanding the complex and overlapping forest-based relationships that exist within the isolated communities of Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos may shed new light on how these groups can influence national level decisions over REDD+, a new CIFOR study anticipates.
“For too long we have looked at communities as isolated pockets that do not receive information about REDD+ from the outside. However, some of these forest-based communities have connections in urban areas or family in positions of government and therefore they have more influence and exposure to REDD+ than we think,” said Dr Christine Padoch, Director of the Forests and Livelihoods programme at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
The new research set to begin this year and conducted by CIFOR’s Forest and Livelihoods programme, will examine how social networks can create new opportunities for communities to access information and assert influence in relation to REDD+.
While even the most isolated forest communities in Southeast Asia depend on multiple social networks through which information and products flow, this rarely informs current forestry research.
“Communities are connected in a number of ways – through kinship links, NGOs, migration links between rural and urban areas and though employment- but these tend to be understudied and underused by development and conservation organisations,” said Padoch.
The study will contribute new understanding to current debates surrounding social forestry and its potential to provide forest-based communities with voice in the formulation of REDD+ polices, which has been the focus of the recent ASEAN conference held in Brunei this week.
“During this conference, we have been using the word ‘community’ as if one size fits all; communities are diverse and they interact with a variety of different actors. We need to understand how they are constantly evolving in order to maximise opportunities for engagement.”
CIFOR’s research into community networks, which will begin in 2011, will be conducted in Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam and will focus on linkages between social forestry and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
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