Indufor has a long-term continued presence in Lao PDR since we have been implementing a series of four consecutive Sustainable Forest Management Projects in the country:
The program has gradually expanded from covering 600 000 ha of Production Forest Areas (PFAs) in 4 provinces to comprising 41 PFAs in 13 provinces with a total area of 2.3 million hectares. About 770 000 people or more than 10% of the entire country population live in the 1 078 villages in the project area. Forest management plans involving the conduct of forest inventories have been prepared and implemented in the entire area of 2.3 million ha.
The Projects’ focus was on participatory management of production forests. The key activities were to expand sustainable, participatory sustainable forest management (PSFM) throughout the country and, in parallel, improve villagers’ well-being through livelihood development prioritizing forest-based activities. Some 40,000 village-level livelihood projects were launched. Strengthening forest law enforcement was another key intervention which covered the forests in the entire country (going beyond the project area) to combat illegal logging, illegal wildlife trade and encroachment.
Supporting activities include improvement of the policy and legal framework enabling and fostering a transition towards sustainable practices, development of a tool to set strategic priorities in forest law enforcement at provincial level (STEPP), identification of High Conservation Forest Areas, a series of forest cover and carbon change assessments, contributions to REDD+ process, and certification of natural production forests in an area of about 110,000 ha. Extensive set of guidelines for forest management, livelihood development and forest law enforcement were prepared followed by training of staff and villagers. For example, during SUFORD AF more than 100,000 training days were delivered. The development of forest information systems was supported including the development of a smartphone-based tool for data collection. In the latter stages of the project increased emphasis was put on fostering inter-agency coordination at the landscape scale, and collaboration with the private sector in livelihood activities and establishment of commercial tree plantations.
For further information, please contact Esa Puustjärvi.