Putting forest communities at the center of responses to climate change: learning from past experience in forest management


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Carol Colfer gave this presentation on 22 May 2013 at a panel session during the two-day policy and science conference entitled "Sustainable forest management in Central Africa: Yesterday, today and tomorrow", organized by CIFOR and its partners and held in Yaounde, Cameroon. The panel, titled “Response to climate change in Central Africa: Realities and challenges”, focused on revisiting previous efforts in forest management for climate change and on considering future directions while considering the interest of forest communities.

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Putting forest communities at the center of responses to climate change: learning from past experience in forest management

  1. 1. PUTTING FORESTCOMMUNITIES AT THECENTER OF RESPONSES TOCLIMATE CHANGE: LEARNINGFROM PAST EXPERIENCE INFOREST MANAGEMENTCarol J. Pierce ColferCenter for InternationalForestry ResearchCornell Institute for Food,Agriculture andDevelopment
  2. 2. Talk Outline History and currentinterest incollaboration withcommunities Special relevance ofcollaboration forclimate change efforts A few key researchquestions & logistics
  3. 3. [Some of] CIFOR’s Enduring Historyof Collaboration with Communities C&I (Prabhu) & Devolution (Wollenberg) projects (mid-1990s) ACM began in 1998, fully underway by 2000, in11 countries, 30 sites: Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon,Ghana, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal,Philippines, ZimbabweCAPRI, 2004-6, 2 districts,IndonesiaLM, 2007-2010, 5 countries,15 sites: Cameroon, Indonesia, Laos,Madagascar, Tanzania
  4. 4. A 2001 Definition for ACM 2001: Adaptive Collaborative Management isa value-adding approach whereby people whohave interests in a forest agree to act togetherto plan, observe and learn from theimplementation of their plans while recognizingthat plans often fail to achieve their statedobjectives. ACM is characterized by consciousefforts among such groups to communicate,collaborate, negotiate, and seek outopportunities to learn collectively about theimpacts of their actions.
  5. 5. 2008 Supplement on ACM Supplement (2008): Working with a givengroup of people requires involving otherpeople acting on other scales — usually atleast one level down and one level up (e.g.user groups within a community and districtofficials above, as in Zimbabwe, Nepal,Indonesia, Philippines). Effective facilitationcan act as a catalyst to empower communitiesto improve their own conditions, both humanand environmental.
  6. 6. Collaborative Approaches Popping upall Over the Place Uganda & Nicaragua – Mwangi &Larson’s gender/tenure/empowerment Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania – Germanet al. (AHI) agricultural learning within andacross sites (INRM) Cameroon, Rwanda, CAR, DRC---Diaw et al. Model Forests Bangladesh, Ecuador, Nepal,Zimbabwe – Ojha et al.’s global ACMimplementation lessons
  7. 7. Sample CollaborativeClimate Change Work - 1Wollenberg (with CCAFS ++) ensuring benefits tocommunities, with EcoAgriculture in E. Africa;and with industries (oil palm in Indonesia; cattlein Brazil)Shames et al. (CCAFS 2013) -institutional innovations &carbon credits, Uganda,Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana)German et al. (2010) on PARas key for Adaptation (Africa)
  8. 8. Sample CollaborativeClimate Change Work - 2 Djoudi & Brockhaus ongendered preferences andpractices in Mali (IFR 2011). Ahmed & Fajber 2009 –Vulnerability capacity index(India)Gonsalves, sociallearning approaches(with 13 collaborative‘cases’ (CCAFS, BothENDS)
  9. 9. Collaborative Climate ChangeWork – close to home COFCCA – Cameroon, CAR, DRC – policy-oriented adaptation strategies to ensuresustainable and equitable use of forestresources, using ACM-style approach COBAM – Congo Basin – seeking synergybetween adaptation and mitigation,empowering people to define and implementadaptation & REDD
  10. 10. Why are Collaborative Approachesso Key in Climate Change (1)?2. The variety ofcultural systemsmeans people’sresponses willvary. ACM canhelp anticipate.1. The inherent ecological and human variabilityover space is further complicated by change (overtime)
  11. 11. Why are Collaborative Approachesso Key in Climate Change (2)?3. Intra-community variability(gender, ethnicity, class,etc.) is huge, addingcomplexity to the mix. Coping will require skillslocally at analysis,prediction & adaptation---ACM strengthens suchskills (with goodfacilitation).[see Locatelli et al. 2008. Facing an uncertain future: How forests and peoplecan adapt to climate change, CIFOR]
  12. 12. Important Sample ResearchQuestions for Collaborative Work - 1 What methodologicalvariations work bestwith different groups? What conditions canmake our researchtruly transformative &just (not simplystrengtheningexisting inequitablepractice)?
  13. 13. Important Research Questions forCollaborative Work - 2 How do we moreeffectively addressmultiple scales (villageto global), includingcoping moreeffectively with power,moving upscale?[& much more!]How do we moreeffectively integratesocial & biophysicalsciences?
  14. 14. Some of my own RQs How do we involve women and marginalizedethnic groups more effectively? What indicators can help us assess progress? How do we fairly and constructively assess,use & improve swidden agriculture in REDD+? How do we more effectively transfer facilitationroles to communities (leadership, neutrality,fairness, motivation, networking, resourceaccess, etc.)?
  15. 15. Logistical Needs How do we evaluate & prove our successes, giventhe qualitative nature of the process? How do we satisfy donor planning needs, given theiterative nature of the process? How do we arrange long enough time horizons? How do we convey the importance & utility ofconducting research in a bottom up, collaborativefashion to those enmeshed in rigidbureaucracy?
  16. 16. Lessons learned - 1 Men, women, youth, elders, ‘underdogs’ incommunities have varying interests andcapabilities; we can strengthen and legitimisepeople’s proactive efforts to identify and managethese differences in pursuit of greater equity. Facilitation---fair, motivational, encouraging,respectful, analytical---is key to success; it cancontribute to empowering people to reducevertical inequities Having a shared long term goal can contribute tosolving the many barriers, small and large, thatinhibit progress (including overcoming conflictsamong people).
  17. 17. Lessons Learned - 2 Focusing on the positive (traditional knowledge,interests, goals, ideals), not the negative (poverty,illiteracy, lack of education), enhances people’sself-confidence, in turn strengthening theirmotivation, involvement, & power. Seeing [moderate] conflict & ‘failure’ asopportunities Context is key — one size does NOT fit all Respect is key to people’s collaboration, andwithout that, we cannot respond well to climatechange
  18. 18. Lessons Learned - 3 Peter (Bolivia) says: Why do communityforest groups continue (despite ourfindings) to Introduce models poorly adapted to localconditions? Use approaches that marginalize localparticipation? Ignore groups without ideal forest conditions? Create access to community forests byexternal actors?
  19. 19. Lessons Learned - 4 Christine (Philippines) sees local people onlybeing involved in early stages; wantscontinuing constructive engagement Yurdi (in Thailand) warns us to Beware of elite capture, but build on existinginstitutions insofar as possible Michelle (Laos) stresses flexibility
  20. 20. Lessons Learned - 5 Yanti (Indonesia) stresses importance ofidentifying conditions that support (or create)what we seek to do. Anne Marie (Cameroon) defines collaborativemanagement as ‘Involving interaction,dialogue and shared decision making bymultiple stakeholders at different scales andlocations.’
  21. 21. Thank you!
  22. 22. Useful Documents Locatelli et al. 2008. Facing an uncertainfuture: How forests and people can adapt toclimate change, CIFOR Colfer, Carol J. Pierce 2008. AdaptiveCollaborative Management Can Help Us CopeWith Climate Change. CIFOR InfoBrief 13: 4(available in French & Indonesian).