Tenure security in Uganda

An independent evaluation of the Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reform (GCS Tenure) found that one approach is particularly effective at helping different stakeholders find common solutions.

Funded by the European Commission and the Global Environment Facility, with technical support from IFAD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), GCS Tenure conducted research in Indonesia, Peru and Uganda, and to a lesser extent in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Nepal.

In Uganda, forest tenure reforms have leaned towards forest protection, rather than strengthening and securing community forest tenure rights. To document people’s experiences and find options to strengthen tenure security, researchers conducted household surveys, focus group discussions and key informant interviews in four districts representing four types of tenure regimes. And through Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) workshops – including women-only workshops – participants from local and national government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local communities and academia were able to assess a problem, identify its drivers, develop scenarios on how it might evolve, and agree on solutions.

Rights and empowerment

Madagascar may fail to meet its ambitious restoration commitments under the Bonn Challenge unless it takes steps to formally recognize customary tenure, suggests exploratory research by CIFOR and the University of Antananarivo’s École Supérieure des Sciences Agronomiques-Forêts (ESSA- Forêts). The Malagasy government is working to recognize customary tenure arrangements, but communities that are currently ‘invisible’ will also need to be empowered to take the hard work of restoration into their own hands.

Securing community rights to forests and land, for women and men, is essential for livelihoods and justice and to address climate change.

Anne Larson

Team Leader, Equal opportunities, gender justice and tenure

Forests, people and the SDGs

CIFOR had a strong scientific presence at the IUFRO conference in Curitiba, Brazil. The launch of a new book, co-edited by senior associates Carol Colfer and Pablo Pacheco with several CIFOR authors contributing, explored the potential impact that attaining the Sustainable Development Goals could have on forests and people.

Project info


Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reform (GCS Tenure)


Indonesia, Peru, Uganda (plus Colombia, Kenya and Nepal)

Funding partners

European Commission, Global Environmental Facility (GEF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) and on Forest, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which are supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund

CIFOR focal point

Anne Larson, Principal Scientist and Team Leader, Equal opportunities, gender justice and tenure

Forests in a
time of crises


In 2019, the world witnessed some of our greatest challenges shift gears from urgent to emergency – from climate crisis to landscape degradation to the wildfires that devastated ecosystems across several continents. But it also saw momentum build with the announcement of the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration, a focus on nature-based solutions, and the recognition of local forest communities and Indigenous Peoples are the best land managers for forest conservation.

Another exciting development – the merger of CIFOR and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) – set the stage for more evidence and solutions that will improve people’s lives, help to conserve and restore the ecosystems that support people and nature, and respond to the global climate crisis.

Our scientists advanced critical knowledge on forest landscape restoration, wild foods and timber legality in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and peatland fires, biofuel, oil palm and wetland ‘blue carbon’ in Indonesia – with clear policy impacts in Southeast Asia from 10 years of social forestry research and engagement. Our ongoing Global Comparative Studies – GCS REDD+ and GCS Tenure – continued to bring science to policy makers across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Gender researchers looked deep into a myriad of topics, and we mourned the loss of principal scientist and Nairobi hub leader Esther Mwangi, whose legacy of achievements in gender and land rights won’t be soon forgotten. Finally the Global Landscapes Forum brought even more people together, both at events from Accra to Luxembourg as well as through exciting new digital innovations.