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The Project Inception Meeting: Comparative Analyses of Transitions to Sustainabl
2011-11-17

The ever worsening global climate and economic crises with their increasingly acknowledgeable impacts on the environment warrant the search for new and better approaches that can help reduce deforestation, induce rehabilitation and foster sustainable forest management.

Deforestation and forest transition studies of the last two decades have generally failed to provide workable models and tools that can be effectively used to achieve these objectives. This project, funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), suggests formulating a set of categorization models using data collected from at least eight countries that have already experienced net forest cover increase.

The inception meeting of “Comparative Analyses of Transitions to Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation” on 6 November 2011, at Room 931, Mingde Main Building, Renmin University of China, Beijing, brought together some 30 participants from China, Japan, South Korea ,Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Project Concepts and Proposal Briefing

Concepts and theories from ecology, economy, social sciences and political sciences shall be exploited to explain forest cover change, and possibly also changing forest quality. The expected outputs of this two-year project shall include peer-reviewed authoritative publications, information briefs, guidelines for practitioners, and educational and training materials. Capacity building and training programmes and activities will be included throughout the project duration.

Theories and Approaches

Population, Economic development, institutions, knowledge/technology and cultures are important drivers of sustainable forest management and forest rehabilitation. Von Thunen’s agricultural location theory, dependency theory/world system theory, general equilibrium model of land use decisions, and collective-action theory, jointly constitute the theoretical foundation. Approaches for transition study is as follows: multi-scale approach, including country lever and local lever; multiscalar approach; structural approach; historical approach versus contemporary cross comparison; quantitative approach versus qualitative approach.

Project Management Arrangements

APAFRI is the project Executing Agency, and the project will be carried out with technical collaboration from the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development of Renmin University of China (RUC), with inputs from Kyoto University, and National Seoul University. The core team, comprising representatives from the Executing Agency and the three universities, would identify case study countries and also the national focal points for these countries. The core team members, assisted by a internationally recruited Technical Assistant, will carry out the comparative analysis. APAFRI will enter separate agreements with the collaborating partners, for the implementation of project activities and the disbursements of funds.

The Outlook for Forestry in the Asia-Pacific Region

Dr Simmathiri Appanah in his presentation highlighted that in the future the key drivers that will affect progress towards SFM are demography, economy, agriculture, infrastructure, politics and policy, environmental issues, science and technology, and governance. Policy makers and regulators must act to promote a balance between demands for land and forest products on the one hand; and conservation, watershed protection and climate change related needs on the other. Several countries in the region have begun to invest heavily in forest management; others should pay attention to the changing landscape in natural resource management.

The meeting certainly helped to gain a good overview on the objectives, approaches, main research contents, outputs expected, timetable, and project management of the APFNet funded project. The inception meeting had paved the way for further discussions on the various details including approaches to conduct national case studies and comparative analysis.

For more information, please contact Dr. Liu Jinlong at liujinlong@ruc.edu.cn


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