This panel discussion explored recent changes in resource use and the value of forests to Southeast Asian communities, and examined the implications of demographic and economic shifts for the region’s future sustainability.
The landscapes of Southeast Asia have long been managed as diverse, and often forest-rich, mosaics by the region’s thousands of communities and millions of smallholder households. These patterns are now rapidly changing as demographic and economic transformations sweep the region. Shifts toward integration into a global economy and patterns of investment over recent decades have brought prosperity to much of the region, but have resulted in major changes to forests and to the communities that have long depended on them. Over the same period, the importance of conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in forested landscapes has gained prominence, and investments are being made to induce behavior change to support sustainability.
This interaction between environment-oriented values and economic transformations is taking place amid a series of other influential trends. These trends include migration and urbanization flows, multi-locality of households, commercialization and homogeneity in land use, and the growing contribution of off-farm employment.
Participants identified and discussed possible policies and practices to ensure that Southeast Asian communities of all types receive an equitable share of the benefits of sustainable landscapes. Panelists explored the issues from a range of perspectives, including economics, sociology and anthropology.