Emerging forest associations in Yunnan, China: Implications for livelihoods and sustainability
Yunnan is one of China's poorest and least urbanized provinces, with 73 of its 129 counties below the poverty line. With the largest total area of collectively-owned forest among China's 31 provinces, forestry development continues to play an important role in Yunnan's rural economic development. This report assesses the competitive challenges that small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) face in response to China's huge rural to urban demographic transition, growth in trade and increasing environmental concerns. It describes the evolution of some of the emerging associations that will help SMFEs cope, such as the Yunnan Provincial Forest Products Industry Association. The reorientation of this association into a more independent industry body could provide a new model for SMFE coordination around Kunming. But in less industrial areas of Yunnan, the development of SMFE associations is likely to require greater catalytic support at the village level.