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Securing the future: Managing risk and building resilience within locally controlled forest businesses

Anna Bolin, Duncan Macqueen

Report/paper, 240 pages

Almost 1.3 billion people inhabit, and are decisive to the fate of, the world’s remaining forests. Evidence affirms that the democratisation inherent to locally controlled forest-farm business reduces the social and environmental impoverishment that is typical of profit-driven industrial business models.

But collective ownership spread across remote areas introduces specific unpredictabilities in: accessing finance, competing for natural resources, securing fair treatment under law, managing a group business organisation, developing human capacity, and building a brand based on broad business objectives. The challenges are in addition to general unpredictabilities arising from macro-economic change, political-legislative upheaval, socio-cultural unrest, natural disasters and technological developments. And this builds a perception of high risk.

This book develops a framework for proactive risk self-assessment and management for locally controlled forest-farm enterprises. It then showcases eight case studies where a participatory approach was used to identify both ‘bad’ and ‘good’ risks to guide development of options for risk management and innovation. The book concludes with an analysis of some of the main transferable approaches used by such enterprises to manage risk. Use of such approaches can help locally controlled forest-farm enterprises manage risks better and grow stronger so that they can attract buyers and investors with greater confidence.

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To restore forests and get out of poverty, rural communities need the knowledge and connections to build flourishing enterprises. Forest landscapes are among the most isolated and marginalised areas in the world, where land, food and energy security and income generation are pressing concerns. Achieving sustainable development in the forest landscape while addressing those immediate needs is a complex challenge that requires joined-up efforts.

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