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Prioritising support for locally controlled forest enterprises

In a finite biosphere there is a limit to what a growing human population can do and still survive. A safe operating space between planetary boundaries at one extreme and the needs of the world’s poorest people at the other. How to achieve this safe operating space is increasingly the focus of the post-2015 framework for sustainable development. Locally controlled forest enterprises have a substantial contribution to make if supported to produce food, fuel and fibre products in ways that improve local livelihoods and resilience in the face of increasing environmental and economic shocks. They offer an alternative approach to a green economy − ‘making economic what is green’ rather than ‘greening what is economic’.

Lamentably, international aid for support to locally controlled forest enterprises is scarce. Prioritising those scarce resources therefore becomes crucial. Should particular forest subsectors receive priority support because of their disproportionately positive provision of public goods? Or is a mosaic of different forest subsectors necessary to deliver the full range of public goods – and if so, what particular types of support are most generically useful to sustain such a mosaic? This report draws together eight country studies from Nepal, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Mexico, Tanzania, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that attempted to answer such questions. The answers matter because, at present, humanity is crashing through planetary boundaries while still failing to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people.

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