Model Forests in Asia began in 1999 through a grant from the Government of Japan and support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The Government of Canada has also provided targeted support to most Model Forests in the region over the years, primarily through the International Development Research Centre and Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service.
Today, Model Forests generally receive funding from a wide variety of sources including national and/or sub-national governments, stakeholder groups, international non-governmental organizations, aid agencies and others. As a region, the network also develops and submits regional proposals on themes of common interest.
Support can also come from in-kind contributions such as donated office space or equipment, and time partners dedicate to Model Forest activities. Model Forests do not generally receive funding from the RMFN-Asia office in Beijing or the IMFN Secretariat in Ottawa, Canada.