IMFN experience in long-term, large-scale, multi-site experimentation and research in sustainable forest management


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The International Model Forest Network (IMFN) is a global community of practice whose members work toward a common goal: the sustainable management of forest-based landscapes through the Model Forest approach. This presentation gives a brief overview of IMFN and of lessons learned from their experiences in long-term, large-scale, multi-site experimentation and research for sustainable forest management.

This presentation formed part of the CRP6 Sentinel Landscape planning workshop held on 30 September – 1 October 2011 at CIFOR’s headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia. Further information on CRP6 and Sentinel Landscapes can be accessed from and respectively.

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IMFN experience in long-term, large-scale, multi-site experimentation and research in sustainable forest management

  1. 1. IMFN experience in long-term, large-scale,multi-site experimentation / research insustainable forest managementPresentation to CIFOR Sentinel Landscapes WorkshopBogor, Indonesia, 30 September – 1 October 2011
  2. 2. What we are?Launched at Rio (UNCED) Summit in 1992.Voluntary international learning network comprised of +/- 60large-scale landscapes in +/- 30 countries.Globally shared framework for addressing sustainable forestresource management (SFM).Idea – at model forest level - is to use broad-basedpartnerships to translate policies of SFM into practice, at alandscape scale, in real time and for real benefitsIdea – at the international network level – is to link the needsand knowledge of network members in order to accelerateinnovation at all levels.
  3. 3. Model Forest Framework Principles
  4. 4. IMFN Site Locations by Forest Type
  5. 5. Model Forest Partnerships Local level: typically large partnerships, highly diverse and non-traditional 1,000+ field-level partners across the network Country/national-level partners Numerous institutional partners at site, regional, and international levels, including: • CUSO-VSO • FAO (Asia, • RECOFTC • CIFOR LAC, Africa) • INBAR • CIDA • UNDP-GEF • GPFLR • IUCN (LAC & Asia) • CATIE
  6. 6. Site SelectionIMFN Secretariat has developed guidelines(non-prescriptive) for site selection.Multiple approaches:• Competitive process (Canada)• Capacity/infrastructure driven (path of least resistance)• Issue/policy driven (go to where the problems are)• Stakeholder (bottom-up) driven• Policy (top-down) driven
  7. 7. PartnershipsAs complex as the landscape/land-uses(academic, research, industry, govt., indigenous,landless, etc)Must include policy makersCompetitors and adversariesThey build it, own it, drive itThey understand that they belong to and work withina larger regional and global IMFN communityGiven time to define their modus operandi
  8. 8. “Funding Permanence”No such thing – focus on risk mitigation strategies.Scaleable: scale of effort ebbs and flows with opportunity andinitiative but with minimum thresholdsImportant to engage and strategize with key stakeholders fromthe beginningBuild capacity and awareness in non-traditional actorsKeep costs low from outset (proxy or “para-technical”expertise)Ensure that the work has buy in/relevance to those charged withmaintaining and supporting it over timeUnderstand local players as assets and (potential) allies
  9. 9. Observations and Lessons Learned>95% of Model Forests ever established since early 1990sare still operational (with varying levels of effectiveness) –why?Many partners = many more resources to deploy and drawupon + political cloutDeveloped country experiences with similar efforts to SLshould be explored (CMFN)Working at this scale, governance and relevance are key tocontinuity/permanence (comprehensive, locally driven,transparent, accountable, empowered, etc.) which takes timeand resources – not aware of any shortcuts.
  10. 10. Lessons LearnedNeed to link explicitly to higher policy levels andexternal communities of common interest (network[s])Communicate/brand/promoteProcess rather than projectCultivate leaders (plural)The social component of sustainability is one of themost complicated: how do we manage ourselves andthe demands we place on our landscapes?
  11. 11. Lessons Learned cont’d.National forest and other resource-focused agencies are keyenablers but should also be understood as key beneficiaries andpartners just as local communities are.There is substantial value in peer-to-peer and site-to-sitenetworking, a process that allows sharing of innovative practicesand that builds confidence and important skills in participants.Meaningful engagement of local stakeholders is a prerequisite tosustaining buy-in, momentum, direction and support.
  12. 12. Thank you!WWW.IMFN.NET