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Social justice in forests: gains made and tactics that work. A report from the Forest Governance Learning Group

James Mayers


Forestry can strengthen communities’ livelihoods, contribute to poverty reduction and be environmentally sustainable when it is based on the local control and capacity to make productive use of forest resources, guided by fair and effective policies and supported by increased levels of investment aimed at developing people, not just profit. However governing forests and forestry well demands good, interconnected decisions to be made by many people. But many people are often denied access to key decisions about forests, while others who have the access do not have the ideas or incentive to change things, or are actively preventing change.

The international Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG) initiative is an informal alliance of ten countries which aims to connect those marginalised from forest governance to those controlling it, and to help both strengthen their practice to improve governance. This report covers the progress, impacts and future plans of the Social Justice in Forestry project of FGLG, drawing together studies from each of the country based teams in Cameroon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam; as well as international FGLG work, including a new initiative aimed at addressing forest governance challenges raised by the growing China-Africa trade and investment relationship. Through the collaborative approaches to research, capacity building and advocacy highlighted it is hoped this report will offer some answers to the challenges faced in the forest governance field.

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