APFNet Workshop on Forestry and Rural Livelihood Development (1-14 November, 2016)

Updated:2016/11/28 12:04:38


APFNet’s Thematic Workshops

The Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet) was established with the main mission of promoting and improving sustainable forest management and rehabilitation in the Asia-Pacific region. One of the main missions of APFNet is to strengthen the human resource capacity. This is being accomplished through a number of programmes, including thematic workshops aimed to enhance knowledge especially through sharing of experience gained within and outside the Asia-Pacific region.

Since 2009 APFNet has organized training workshops focusing on two themes, namely (a) Forest Resource Management and (b) Forestry and Rural Development. Hitherto 16 such workshops have been held providing opportunity to enhance the technical capacity of over 265 professionals from 20 economies, such as Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Chile, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Papua New-Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. These training workshops have become important platforms for knowledge sharing and strengthening inter-economy collaboration to promote sustainable forest management and forest rehabilitation.

In order to continually strengthen the human resources in critical areas in the Asia-Pacific economies, APFNet-KTC has developed a five year strategic plan for the thematic training workshops from 2016 to 2020 as part of APFNet’s capacity building programme. Accordingly every year APFNet-KTC plans to organize two regular training workshops on the themes (1) Forest Rehabilitation and Management and (2) Forestry and Rural Livelihood Development. Both these themes are key priority areas for almost all economies in the Region.

As the first year to implement the five year strategic plan for the thematic training workshops, in 2016 APFNet-KTC has already conducted the first training workshop under the theme of “Forest Rehabilitation and Management” in Yunnan Province of China in July 2016. In cooperation with the Forest Department, Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment, Government of Sri Lanka, APFNet-KTC is now proposing to organize the first training workshop on the theme “Forestry and Rural Livelihood Development” from 1 to 14 November 2016 in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

Forestry and Livelihood Development

Forests and forestry play important roles in the livelihood of people in all societies, though the nature of livelihood derived varies in time and space. An estimate by the World Bank about 1.6 billion people are directly and indirectly dependent on forests for their livelihood. Forestry development efforts should hence pay careful attention to the forest-livelihood linkages. This is becoming all the more important considering that livelihood issues are being mainstreamed in the larger developmental and environmental agenda. For example, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and its successor, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have livelihood improvement as the core agenda.

Most of the developing economies in the Asia-Pacific Region rely heavily on forest resources for livelihoods and economic productivity. The impact of forestry development on people’s livelihood has been extremely varied; while some have helped to improve livelihoods through provision of goods and services as also income from forestry employment, others had significant negative impacts. For example, large scale afforestation using monocultures has reduced biodiversity, undermining the availability of a wide range of basic needs goods that are critical to the livelihood of rural communities. Implementation of sustainable forest management should therefore underpin the importance of social aspects of forests, including their contribution to livelihoods.

Most developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region have attempted to improve the contribution of forests and forestry to livelihood development through a wide array of interventions, and a host of activities that increase the flow of goods and services to the poor or to enhance their income have been attempted during last few decades. However, economic development efforts in the region have also resulted in deforestation and forest degradation as well as marginalization of forest dependent communities, and forestry agencies are facing immense challenges in meeting the diverse demands on forests. Protecting the vast forest areas in the context of limited fiscal and human resources requires well-designed and well-implemented policies and programs that improve forest resources management contributing to livelihood improvement of local communities at the same time helping to restore degraded forest areas, conserve biodiversity, and increase the income of local communities.


It is in the above context that the Forest Department, Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment, Government of Sri Lanka and APFNet - Kunming Training Center are jointly organizing this workshop to provide a better understanding of the forest-livelihood linkages and what may be done to enhance forest’s contribution to improve rural  livelihood.

The workshop is designed for forestry policy makers, planners and managers, specifically working on improving the livelihood contribution of forests and forestry in the Asia and Pacific economies. Depending on availability of funds, the total number of invited participants will be limited to 15 from APFNet member economies. The workshop will be held from 1 to 14 November 2016 at the Goldi Sands Hotel in Negombo, Sri Lanka.


The main objectives of the Workshop are to:

  • Assess the linkage between forest management and rural livelihood improvement and explore the ways in which the livelihoods of rural communities might be improved through better forest management
  • Provide an overview of the experiences and best forestry practices aimed at enhancing rural livelihood development
  • Analyze and assesse implications of key policy, institutional and technological developments and the potentials and limitations for livelihood improvement through biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

Workshop structure and training approach

The workshop structure is designed to provide the maximum learning opportunity to the participants and the entire thrust will be on dialogue, group work, discussions and field observations. The following are the four key components of the Workshop:

Thematic lectures:

Invited experts will provide an in-depth assessment of different aspects relating to livelihood improvement and forest management.

Participant presentation:

Participants will make presentations which will outline experience in managing forests accommodating livelihood concerns at the national programme and project level.

Group work and discussions:

Group discussions including panel discussions and debates will be an integral component of the workshop and all participants are encouraged to actively participate in these. As part of the group work participants will be required to prepare policy briefs related to strengthening the livelihood contribution of forests.

Field trip:

Field trip to different areas in Sri Lanka will provide an opportunity to learn about the evolution of land use including diverse land uses such as the home gardens in Kandy, natural forest management, forest plantations and management of protected areas and how livelihood dimensions are taken into account in different land use systems.  

Workshop Outputs

The Workshop is expected to significantly enhance the knowledge of forestry professionals in designing policies and programmes helping to improve the contribution of forests and forestry to rural livelihood. Participant papers will be edited and published as an important information sharing source for future initiatives and development efforts; it will be disseminated on both APFNet and APFNet-KTC websites at same time. In addition, a synthesis report as another important workshop output with summarized key issues from workshop discussion will also be accessible to a wider audience.

Main Topics/Areas

The Workshop will attempt to provide a broad analytical framework to assess the current state of rural livelihood improvement specifically focusing on the following:

• Forests and livelihoods: Past, present and future.

• Policies and institutions in support of enhancing the livelihood roles of forests.

• Forest governance and its varied impacts on people’s livelihood.

• Indigenous communities and traditional knowledge: Myths, realities and the way forward

• Contribution of small-scale forestry enterprises to socio-economic development.

• Payment for environmental services: Potentials and constraints in improving the livelihood of forest dependent communities

• Livelihood and land use management: The changing role of home-gardens – the Kandyan home gardens.

• Urban forestry and livelihoods

• Protected areas and livelihoods: People and wildlife from conflict to co-existence.

Key issues to be considered

Taking advantage of the vast experience and knowledge accumulated so far the Workshop will attempt to address the following issues:

• What is the current understanding about the contribution of forests in improving the livelihood of rural communities? How are these reflected in the national development policies and strategies?

• How is governance of forests affecting the livelihood of people? Why the “Rich forests - poor people” syndrome is still existing in many forested regions and economies?

• In a rapidly changing society what will be the emerging roles of forests in fulfilling the livelihood needs of people? And to what extent these are reflected in the forest policies and forest management?

• What is the role of small-scale forestry enterprises in improving the livelihood of rural communities?

• What should be done to ensure that livelihood aspects are fully taken into account in the entire length of the forestry based marketing value chain?

• How can protected area management adopt an inclusive approach ensuring that livelihood concerns are accommodated? What is the trade-offs involved?

• How can land use systems like home gardens contribute to livelihood improvement?

• What are the opportunities provided by urban forestry to improve the livelihood of urban dwellers?

Debates and discussions during the Workshop will generate more questions and encourage critical thinking and analyses aimed to provide practical solutions that could help in improving the livelihood contribution of forests.

List of Experts Invited:

Dr. C.T.S. Nair

Ms. Rowena Soriaga

Prof. Shen Lixin

Prof. Pushpakamara

Dr. Preecha Ongprasert

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