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Investment can create 'triple win' from locally controlled forestry

Can investors and forest-dependent communities form mutually-beneficial partnerships? (© Ollivier Girard/CIFOR)
Can investors and forest-dependent communities form mutually-beneficial partnerships?
© Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

New guidance for investments in locally controlled forestry that can create a 'triple win' of returns for investors, livelihood security for local communities and protection for forests, have emerged from detailed discussions between investors and forest rights-holders. Eleven meetings, organised by The Forest Dialogue (TFD) on behalf of the Growing Forest Partnerships initiative, gathered indigenous people, family foresters, researchers, government representatives, investment bankers, donors and philanthropists to share their views on the role of investment in the forest sector.

Presenting insights from 17 case studies, A guide to investing in locally controlled forestry shows how investors and forest-dependent communities can form mutually-beneficial partnerships that deliver social, environmental and economic gains. "Strong businesses generate profits worthy of asset investment," says Chris Buss of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, who led the team that produced the guide. "But growing those businesses may need enabling investments from NGOs, philanthropists or governments for infrastructure, capacity building or to secure and formalise commercial forest rights. Recognising these two investment roles offers a credible way to support enterprises that are too big for microfinance but too small to attract conventional investment or financial services."

Duncan Macqueen of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), who also contributed to the guide, adds: "About a quarter of the world's forests are locally controlled, by members of three major alliances of indigenous peoples, forest communities and private family smallholders. These forests provide livelihoods for a billion people, and goods and services worth US$75-US$100 billion per year. What's missing is the investment that can boost these benefits in a sustainable way and put local people in the driving seat."

Date published: September 2012

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