Cross Learning on Community Forestry for Resilience Building

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Forest ecosystems in Myanmar have been heavily exploited, leading to deterioration of ecosystem services and putting increasing pressure on women and girls who spend enormous amounts of time and effort on chores such as collecting fodder, fuelwood, and spring water. The degradation of forest ecosystems has also adversely impacted agro-forestry and freshwater ecosystems, both upstream and downstream.  

The Forest Department (Government of Myanmar) has been promoting community forestry as an approach to sustainable and equitable forest management in Myanmar. However, operationalizing community forestry continues to be a challenge for decision makers, planners, and local communities. During a scoping mission to Myanmar undertaken by the Resilient Mountain Solutions (RMS) initiative in October 2018, the team identified capacity building of forest department officials and local elected leaders, especially from Southern Shan State, as an RMS activity for scaling up community forestry in Shan State and beyond. 

Community forestry in Nepal, often held up as a globally recognized best practice of sustainable forest management, has restored degraded forest lands, improved ecosystem services, and enhanced livelihood resilience, benefitting some 2.5 million households in the country, especially women, the poor, and disadvantaged groups. Since the beginning of community forestry in Nepal, about 1.8 million hectares of national forest has been handed over to communities, comprising about 1.45 million households, for management.

The cross learning event will bring forest officials, elected leaders, and staff from the Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development (MIID) to Nepal to learn about the many aspects of community forestry as practiced here.

Objective

The overall objective of the cross learning event is to build an understanding of the policies, legal framework, and institutional aspects required to scale up community forestry in Myanmar.

Expected Outcomes

  • Greater understanding of operational aspects of community forestry
  • Identification of enabling conditions for scaling up community forestry
  • Linkages of community forestry with watershed management
  • Good practices of community forestry for implementation in selected RMS sites in Myanmar