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Organisation – how it ignites successful, locally controlled forestry business

Maintaining vital flows of vital local and global public goods from forest landscapes requires multi-functional land use mosaics. To address past state failures and ensure justice in how competing demands for forest goods are met, governments are increasingly devolving rights downward. Evidence points to local forest farm producer groups being better in practice at balancing demands for local goods (access to income, food, clean water, wood energy, construction materials, fertile soils, medicinal and cosmetic products) and global goods (climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, hydrological and mineral cycles). But with the social benefits and environmental diversity inherent to such multi-functional land use mosaics comes various challenges. The organisation of forest farm producers into multiple viable business structures can deliver the scale-efficiencies and market access that results in a much needed social, environmental, and economic development triple-win. But what ownership and management structures work in different contexts and why? How might these success stories be scaled-up? What risks must be considered in doing so? This paper draws on 19 case studies within a forthcoming ‘compendium of successful locally controlled forestry business models’ to provide some answers. It showcases business models emerging in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It provides a trajectory of organisational steps that could be pursued to take success from local to regional, and from regional to national scales and beyond. Finally, it assesses how recent innovative funding mechanisms such as the Forest Farm Facility (FFF) and capacity development strategies used by its knowledge network partners in an alliance, Forest Connect, can chart a way forward and make change happen.

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