Thinking beyond the canopy

Impact Assessment at CIFOR

CIFOR conducts internationally relevant research to serve its mission of poverty alleviation and environmental protection. We use the term 'impact' to describe discernible contributions to this mission. We use the term 'impact assessment' to describe analysis to identify contributions to this mission that can be attributed in part to our work.

We at CIFOR believe we are doing research that has helped to improve the lives of millions of poor people, and to improve the management of millions of hectares of forests. But identifying our precise contributions is no easy matter. Existing impact assessment methods are not well developed for our kinds of collaborative policy and management oriented science, as there are no truly objective indicators of reliance on our findings. Furthermore, our findings often permeate through to practices on the ground through many intermediate changes in understanding and actions.   

As a result, we will probably never be able to fully illustrate all of the benefits we believe our work has created.  However, this does not lessen our responsibility to show our stakeholders how our research matters and helps us achieve our mission. We have therefore focused our impact assessment work on a few examples where benefits can be quantified, and where CIFOR’s contributions can be clearly illustrated.

Please explore the links on the right to learn more about our impact assessment activities and their key findings.