Thinking beyond the canopy


International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) event

Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge

As developing countries grapple with the challenge of changing climates and sustainable development, CIFOR scientists will join hundreds of scholars, practitioners, and commoners in considering the role of the commons economically, socially and ecologically at the fourth global International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) held from the 3 – 7 June on Mount Fuji in Japan.

IASC is a nonprofit association of scientists and practitioners that is devoted to understanding and improving institutions for the management of resources that are (or could be) held or used collectively by communities in developing or developed countries by encouraging the exchange and fostering of knowledge of diverse disciplines, areas and resources types.

This year's conference will be held on the Kitafuji Commons. The commoners of the Onshirin federation of 11 villages currently hold access rights to the north slope of Mount Fuji (Kita Fuji), along with Japan's Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN). Japan's history and experience with commons is a source of both positive inspiration and lessons about the hazards involved for people who face similar choices and challenges.

CIFOR scientists will take part in a series of panel discussions focusing on a wide range of issues under the theme,Commoners and the changing commons: livelihoods, environmental security, and shared knowledge.

Presenting new papers on increasing awareness on gender, spatial planning in Indonesia, the impacts of large scale land acquisition, and the formalisation of access and trade in land and natural resource management, CIFOR will to contribute to the understanding of the economic and social functions of commons as they move through the process of legal change, industrialisation and urbanisation.

Panel 1

Historical perspectives on landscape transformations and their implications in terms of changes in land ownership and control for different land users

Tuesday 4 June 08.30-10.00, Fujisan Hall

Forest and land use histories have important implications for understanding forest ecology in the social and political relationships with currently forested land in agricultural landscapes, and in identifying coping strategies and adaptation to environmental stress.

This panel will present historical evidence of landscape transformations in different regions, Ghana, Kenya and Brazil and explore the implications of the shifts in land ownership and control for local communities. The panel will conclude with a discussion of lessons learned from a comparative analysis of the cases.

Contact: Andrew Wardell

Panel 2

Trade-offs between large-scale and small-scale land commercialisation and impacts on forest commons

Tuesday 4 June 10.30-12.00, Fujisan Hall

It is estimated that by 2050, up to 70 million hectares of new land will be needed to meet the global demand for food, fuel, fibre and other commodities. Various countries in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia have endeavoured to take advantage of this demand by developing national objectives via opening up to domestic and foreign investments in natural resources.

Presenting a collection of papers on five countries (Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nigeria, Zambia and Brazil), the panel will explore forest commons commercialisation from a variety of angles to examine evolving meanings, trade-offs and strategies for those most affected including those stakeholders who continue to rely, to a significant degree, on common forest resources.

Panel 3

Formalisation of access and trade in land and natural resources: Inter‐sectoral lesson sharing from and for forestry, mining, fisheries, and land tenure

Wednesday 5 June 08.30- 10.00 (first session), 10.30 -12.00 (second session), Fujisan Hall

Processes of formalisation, legalisation or codification of rights to access and trade in natural resources and land have been the subject of much research. Currently, and in recent years, there have been international and national efforts to formalise land and resource ownership in developing countries.

To better inform this debate, CIFOR brings together researchers on forestry, fisheries, artisanal mining and land tenure to share lessons about the current, and historical, reasons for formalisation efforts, their positive and negative outcomes in terms of efficacy for resource management, corruption, human rights and livelihoods of local people, including women and marginalised groups.

Panel 4

Spatial planning in Indonesia: Insights from research and action in West Kalimantan and Moluccas Provinces

Friday 8 June 10.30-12.00, Fujisan Hall

Spatial planning represents a cross-sectoral and multi-level governance process for the coordination of land allocation, land use and resource management. Still, balancing different land use interests at different levels of aggregation from the local, provincial and national levels renders spatial planning as an inherently complex process. In particular, requirements for community participation and public consultation among competing local, subnational and national agencies further complicate the spatial planning process.

This panel draws cases from the Collaborative Land Use Planning and Sustainable Institutional Arrangements (COLUPSIA) research and action projects in two provinces of Indonesia to spotlight challenges and opportunities for multi-level governance of complex commons.

Panel 5

Enhancing gender equity in Ugandan and Nicaraguan community forests

Friday 8 June 13.30-15.00, Fujisan Hall

Aside from a few countries and case studies, there is relatively little information on gender differentiated-use of forest resources and a woman's role in the decision-making process over forest management. There is even less guidance, or agreement, on how to begin to promote women's participation in these areas.

The panel will present three papers: the obstacles of women's participation in policy, law, projects and programs; lessons learned from the facilitation of Adaptive Collaborative Management processes in different contexts; and the results of community level surveys with 600 men and women on forest use and decision-making.

Contact: Anne Larson and Esther Mwangi

Panel 6

Methods and approaches for analysing gender differences in rights of access to the usage, and management, of forests and tree products

Friday 8 June 15.00-17.00, Fujisan Hall

Gender-sensitive research generates an understanding of key institutional, cultural and attitudinal contexts that entrench inequity across relevant sets of issue areas. Gender-sensitive research will also offer guidance on how to avoid or mitigate negative impacts associated with the increase of awareness in communities unfamiliar to the ideas of gender equity.

To respond to the needs expressed by the many involved in forest-related endeavours, this panel will discuss multiple methodologies, in particular, it will examine women-specific knowledge and priorities for forest, and forest goods and services; analyse the usage of the global dataset on income and forest use to question currently held assumptions about the gender differentiation of forest product collection and use.

Contact: Yen Mai