CIFOR’s Sloping Lands in Transition (SLANT) project involves new collaborative research and capacity building in Bhutan. As governments and development agencies seek ways to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, the Eastern Himalayan region is a key focal area for research and action due to the combination of ecological and social vulnerability. With an expected increase in the frequency of floods as well as droughts, the enhancement of forest ecosystem services and the management of timber harvesting on slopes is urgently required. At the same time, rural poverty concerns and a rich tradition of participatory approaches in South Asia represent both a challenge and an opportunity for aligning efforts that mitigate severe climate effects.
This project objectives are (1) to assess the status and trends of ecosystem service provision for community forests and government reserve forests (GRFs), and to determine the expectations of residents and the government vis-à-vis the rehabilitation of degraded forest; and (2) to determine what drives unsustainable timber harvest in both community forests and GRFs, and the impacts of this on timber stocks and ecosystem services.
Our assessment of current forest management schemes and the trade-offs between forest resource demands and forest ecosystem service provision will support efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation, productive forestry and agro-forestry programs, and water and watershed management.