This project ended in June 2010. This website was last updated 28 October 2009. We have kept the website available for our readers’ convenience. If you interested to learn CIFOR's ongoing research, please click here.

Recent Activities

Status Update
October–December 2009, Carol J. Pierce Colfer

During this period the following activities were successfully completed:

  • Peter Cronkleton represented our Task Force in a side event at the World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in collaboration with two other IUFRO task forces:  Traditional Knowledge and Forests and Human Health.  The side event took place on 19 October. Peter reports that the session was well attended and well received.
  • Our efforts to find a Task Force member to represent us with the IUFRO Board meeting at this same Congress were unsuccessful, though we had several near-representatives:Gill Shepherd, Janis Alcorn, Peter Cronkleton, and Marcus Colchester. Thanks for trying! Instead, I sent a written summary.
  • Cynthia McDougall, Bishnu Hari Pandit, Mani Ram Banjade, Krishna Prasad Paudel, Hemant Ojha, Manik Maharjan, Sushila Rana, Tara Bhattarai and Sushma Dangol have published Facilitating Forests of Learning: Enabling an Adaptive Collaborative Approach in Community Forest User Groups, a Guidebook (CIFOR, Bogor, 2009), which draws on their decade-long experience in Nepal. Congratulations to the authors for this long-awaited book!
  • Planning for the August 2010 IUFRO World Congress in Seoul, Korea, has begun.  Apparently I will be the only member of our Task Force attending, though not everyone has responded to my inquiry about attendance.  I therefore opted not to plan a formal meeting.
  • I am planning two kinds of involvement at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress: 
    • Presentation of findings on ‘Governance of Landscape Mosaics:  Experiences on Five Tropical Sites’ as part of a panel being organised by Jea- Laurent Pfund on ‘Improving livelihoods through research and action in biodiversity-rich tropical forest landscapes’.
    • An introduction to decentralisation issues as a moderator on a panel organised by Monika Singh from UBC, entitled ‘An Honest Conversation about Decentralisation and Forest Livelihoods in a Globalised World: Case Studies from Four Continents’.  This panel appears to be the first all-female panel IUFRO has ever had; and has been tentatively upgraded to a subplenary.
  • Janis Alcorn’s policy brief on swiddeners and REDD has been posted as a draft for commentary on our Task Force website see ’recent activities’.  She has put it up also on here. We encourage you to use it, as its timeliness is one of its strengths –policy makers are even less likely to read old material.
  • Marcus Colchester reports that the Forest Peoples Program, with a number of indigenous peoples spokespeople, was strongly present at the sixth Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Montreal on 2-6 November. See their website for details.  An excerpt from the summary:

Parties acknowledged the importance of customary sustainable use of biological resources by indigenous peoples and local communities and agreed that this should receive more attention in the implementation of the whole Convention. Indigenous participants were satisfied with the meeting’s outcomes and commented that their timely input and preparations had paid off.

Finally, we have had to bid farewell to Widya Prajanthi, who has been our faithful technical person maintaining our website. We wish her well, and welcome forthcoming support from CIFOR Information Services Group.


1. Reducing climate change in alliance with swidden communities and indigenous people

Janis Alcorn, a researcher with long experience working with swidden agriculturalists, has drafted a report on how mechanisms proposed to reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) may affect swiddeners. The work has been done with support from Lou Verchot, a climate change researcher, and Carol J. Pierce Colfer, another researcher on swiddeners. All three scientists are concerned about the potential impacts of REDD on the people who practice swidden agriculture. We fear that climate change researchers and policy makers are in general inadequately informed about this potential. We would like to produce a policy brief that will:
  • grab their attention
  • lay out the issues
  • provide a compelling case for addressing those issues.

We ask for your help in improving the document posted here. Feedback can be send to any of us:;, or

Click here to download the draft report in pdf format.

2. World Forestry Congress:

Our Task Force members are going to be active at this upcoming meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 18-23 October 2009.

  • Peter Cronkleton has worked with the Task Forces on Traditional Forest Knowledge and on Forests, Human Health and Well-being to produce a panel, which will take place on 19 October from 12:45 – 14:15, in Room NOTRO, Blue Pavilion. He will speak about our own Task Force’s work.
  • The IUFRO Task Force on Forests and Human Health, For Health, 2007-2011, will also have a Steering committee meeting (open for all interested), on Tuesday 20th of October, 2009, 14:30-16:30, in the same room.
  • Peter has also agreed to represent us at the IUFRO Board meeting.
  • Gill Shepherd (IUCN) is co-running a session with Trish Shanley (CIFOR) on Forests and Poverty. The session is No. 5.6, and will be on Friday.
  • The Gender Research section is also putting on a panel, coordinated by Sandra Rivero (FAO), on Thursday 22nd October. The session will last 1.5 hours.

Face to face meetings can help activate our Task Force. Each time our Task Force members have met, they have managed to contribute to Task Force activity/planning. It would be great if there could be a few more face to face meetings among us! Some might result in some brilliant ideas for our last year of functioning (July 2009 – July 2010).

3. Forests, landscapes and governance: multiple actors multiple roles

Jane Carter has made available an excellent account of two workshops on governance at the landscape level (one in Bhutan and one in Interlaken). The publication is entitled 'Forests, landscapes and governance: multiple actors, multiple roles', edited by Jane Carter, Kaspar Schmidt, Patrick Robinson, Thomas Stadtmüller, and Arjumand Nizami. It includes interesting snippets from a number countries, providing useful information on their landscape level forest governance. This work will provide a nice complement to CIFOR’s work underway on “Landscape Mosaics”, which includes a different set of countries. The governance-related work from this project will be available in 2010.

Click here to download the pdf file.

4. Upcoming events!

The 23rd IUFRO World Congress 'Forests for the Future: Sustaining Society and the Environment'
23-28 August 2010-Seoul, Republic of Korea.

More information
IUFRO Headquarters – Secretariat
International Union of Forest Research Organizations
Mariabrunn (BFW), Hauptstrasse 7
A 1140 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: +43-1-877 0151-0
Fax: +43-1-877 0151-50
Click here to download the flyer in pdf format.

5. Upcoming books – a heads up!

Forests for People: Community Rights and Forest Tenure Reform, edited by Anne Larson, Deborah Barry, Ganga Ram Dahal and Carol J. Pierce Colfer. Earthscan/CIFOR, London, 2010 (in press). This edited book reports the results of a two year, 12 country project that included both an action and conventional research component. The work was funded by IDRC and Ford Foundation.

  • Governing Africa’s Forests: in a Globalized World, edited by Laura A. German, Alain Karsenty and Anne-Marie Tiani, Earthscan/CIFOR, 2009 (in press). This edited book reports the results of an international workshop on forest governance, held in Durban, S. Africa in April of 2008. The work is part of a series of similar workshops, funded by the Swiss and Indonesian governments, with additional contributions from a large number of other institutions. more

Carol Colfer and (especially) Widya Prajanthi and CIFOR’s ISG Web Team have vastly improved and updated CIFOR’s ACM website. It now links users to the following topics, which (in many cases) at CIFOR have built on the previous ACM work. Check out the ACM website, each topic leads you to further pertinent materials.

  1. Methods and tools (Linda Yuliani,

  2. Decentralisation (Moira Moeliono,

  3. Modelling (Herry Purnomo,

  4. Conflict studies (Yurdi Yasmi,

  5. Grassroots networking (Peter Cronkleton,

  6. Collective action (Heru Komarudin,

  7. Rights and resources (Elena Petkova,

  8. Landscape biodiversity and livelihoods (Jean-Laurent Pfund,

  9. Climate change adaptation (Bruno Locatelli,

Lucy Heffern has worked with Widya Prajanthi and CIFOR’s ISG Web Team to add a section on ‘Kids and Forests’ to our website, IUFRO Task Force on ‘Improving the Lives of People in Forests, called ‘Curriculum’, and including some relevant curricular materials---a ‘rainforest syllabus’. If you have ideas for either curricular materials to include, or websites to which we could link, relating to children and youth, please let us know.