Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

Voices from the Forest Issue No. 35

May 30, 2019

Being at the frontier of conflicts from large-scale development projects, local and indigenous communities come face to face with the pressure of not only making ends meet for their families but also the future of their communities. The year 2018 has been a host to various exchanges and learnings that elevate the discussion on community and tenure rights. The 35th issue of Voices from the Forest is a collection of these stories.

Equitable benefits and outcomes in community development are rooted in gender equality and strengthening and empowering the voice of women. All over, the world has come together in Johannesburg to form a collective voice against aggression. Maica Saar, a Palaw’an woman, shared her experience from the trip. After winning the Purse for the People’s Gratitude For the Goddess Award in early 2017, Tilita, a Dayak Benuaq has bigger dreams of building a Cultural House for her village. She goes on a journey to the Philippines to learn about their ways and strategies despite their struggles on page 22.

On the cover of this issue is Changkran Roy, a growing community-based ecotourism site in Cambodia. However, encroachment and logging threats have made the area more prone to flooding hazards. The community members have taken it upon themselves to determine, manage, and resolve conflicts in the area by forming the Community Forestry Management Council.

The palm oil industry is moving very quickly, and communities are having a hard time keeping up. NTFP-EP Malaysia zeroed in on the growing sector as it creeps in Sarawak, including its nuanced costs, benefits, and complications.

Lok Panchayat shares about the Raakhan Raan–a ‘young’ conservation tradition in India. As a livelihood-based conservation tradition around Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary, tribals have been using it in a way that marries tradition and livelihoods within a system of respect for resource rights and tenurial access.

ICCAs are gaining more thrust as it steadily draws in more champions in the region. In the recently concluded exchange visit to Bukidnon, Philippines, colleagues from Myanmar learned about the realities of combining technical and local knowledge within the context of advocating for ICCAs at the policy level.

Regionally, the CSO Forum has been delivering a grounded perspective of social forestry. However, challenges still exist at the country level. Updates from the recently concluded forum and mini-conference in Da Nang, Vietnam look promising.

While stories of success, challenges, and promises on the ground continue, the demand for these to be taken into account and acted on still exist on global platforms such as the UNFCCC COP24 in Poland and CBD COP14 in Egypt.