Thinking beyond the canopy

Sustainably managing tropical production forests

CIFOR's research helps poor communities influence decisions about the forests they depend on and increase their incomes from forests.

Because production forests will constitute up to 80 percent of the permanent forest estate in many tropical regions, the many people who live in or near them are likely to be affected by the way they are managed. Over the past two decades, forest managers and researchers have been searching for long-term approaches to promote sustainable forest management. These efforts have resulted in more natural forest being designated suitable for timber production under sustainable management. However, sustainability remains an elusive goal in many countries where the basic tenets of forest management have not changed.

Most existing models for sustainable forest management are viable only for large concessions. They are designed for big companies exploiting unlogged primary forest, not for medium- or small-scale enterprises working in secondary or logged-over forest. Research is needed to review existing management paradigms for tropical production forests and facilitate the design of new, equitable and more environmentally friendly management policies.

Our goal is to precipitate a paradigm shift in how production forests are managed, and by whom. Within 10 years, CIFOR research will have contributed to a significant increase in the area of production forests managed for goods and services beyond timber in at least five countries. At a global level, the investment decisions, standards and guidelines of key donor and forestry agencies will increasingly reflect this paradigm shift.

Research themes

  • Defining better forest and forest policy regimes
  • Developing tools and information for better managed production forests beyond reduced impact logging
  • Understanding local people's values, rights and benefit sharing
More information

Domain leader: Production forests
Manuel Guariguata

CIFOR'S Strategy 2008-2018: A summary
Key features of CIFOR's strategy for the decade 2008-2018. To learn more about CIFOR's strategic directions and to read the full document visits

Current projects: Production forests
Locations, project duration, donors, and objectives for current projects within this research theme.