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The Lao government's forest strategy aims to increase national "forest" cover to 70% by 2020 from the current estimated 41%. At the same time national strategic priorities for inviting foreign investment have led the government to allocate an estimated 13% of Lao's forest land to concessions during the period of 2002-09. Dryland dipterocarp forests (DDF) represent a unique forest ecotype that is under particular threat to conversion. The frequently stunted appearance of these slow-growing forests contribute to their being undervalued, and there is increasing pressure to permit conversion of such "low value" forests for (predominantly) foreign investment in export-oriented commercial agricultural or tree cropping plantations.
Our analysis comparing case studies of forest resources use, incomes and vulnerability in three villages associated with production forests, sugarcane concessions and eucalyptus concessions in Savannakhet Province challenges these assessments. We discuss the extent to which the conversion of DDF forests for many such concession models should be regarded as a high-risk strategy with the significant potential for "maladaptation" outcomes.
CIFOR Scientist Aaron Russell with Joost Foppes and Southone Ketphanh on 4 June 2013 at the panel discussion "Trade-offs between large-scale and small-scale land commercialisation and impacts on forest commons" at the 2013 IASC conference held on Mount Fuji in Japan.
For more information, please click here: http://www.cifor.org/events/upcoming-events/iasc.html