Poor and marginalized communities often suffer from the
same decisions that damage forest biodiversity. This is because these communities are the
principal beneficiaries of many forest goods and services. Outside interventions that
affect forest landscapes and their biodiversity are seldom well anticipated.
To address the needs and interests of local communities, decision
makers require a greater understanding of local needs. Merely talking to people may
provide insights, but it is not always so simple. Furthermore, decision makers rarely
commit themselves to consulting with inaccessible communities.
To address conservation issues, it is useful to ask "What needs to
be saved and how?". But answers will depend on who is asked. Current global
conservation priorities tend to reflect Northern norms rather than the interests of local
forest dependent communities. This can lead to conflicts that do little to promote
conservation. It is possible to find shared agendas and negotiate compromises among
disparate interests through democratic processes, and identifying new conservation
CIFOR's Biodiversity group therefore
choose to focus on research and development of tools that assess the importance
of biodiversity from the perspective of remote and often marginalised forest
communities. A first survey was carried out and tested in Kalimantan, Indonesia
in 2000. Since then, many others have followed, in all continents. Through this
website we hope to present basic findings of these surveys and make
and publications available.