Bringing people together to sustainably manage their forest landscapes in Asia.

Regional Priorities

Regional priorities were established to enable our members to develop and implement programming that addresses issues that extend beyond any single Model Forest. We have identified impact areas to focus on as a collective, as well as in within our individual Model Forests. These impact areas are:

  1. Promoting sustainable livelihoods and food security
  2. Enhancing forest cover and biodiversity conservation
  3. Ensuring water security
  4. Improving governance and law enforcement for sustainable forest management
  5. Assessing climate change vulnerability and facilitating community adaptation
  6. Exploring environmental goods and services provided by forests

We strive to impact these areas through:

Capacity Building

The success of Model Forests involves cooperation among stakeholders to develop effective natural resource management plans operating at a landscape scale, and to ensure that any activities support partner needs and values. This cooperation requires a range of skills, tools and techniques, processes and capacities among stakeholders to perform their roles effectively. We provide capacity building support to target groups at local, regional and national levels to enable positive impacts from Model Forests and to effectively engage our stakeholders. Capacity building thereby includes a broad array of activities and services that are designed to strengthen human resource capabilities in natural resource management practices and processes. Some of our past and planned capacity building has focused on the following:

  • Multi-stakeholder processes
  • Forest based small scale enterprise and marketing development
  • Participatory forest assessment, monitoring and evaluation system
  • Alternative livelihood development
  • Model Forest organization management and administration
  • Resource mobilization

Networking and Knowledge Sharing

We aim to act as an information hub to facilitate networking among our member countries as well as with national and regional agencies working on forest issues. Through the International Model Forest Network, we also share our experiences with other Model Forests around the globe. Examples of activities we undertake with respect to networking and knowledge sharing include:

  • Promoting knowledge sharing and up to date information on the sustainable management of forests and natural resources to stakeholders and partners
  • Providing opportunities through workshops, forums, meetings and other communication means for the exchange and sharing of experiences among participating members with like-minded agencies
  • Facilitating processes for developing joint programs among participating members on common interests such as climate change and forest landscape restoration.

Promotion of the landscape-level approach 

Increasing public awareness of the benefits of cross-sectoral, landscape-level approaches is an effective way to increase the application of Model Forest values beyond Model Forests themselves. We work as a catalyst to advocate and promote the principles and attributes of the Model Forest approach so that all forest-dependent communities and other stakeholders can benefit our from lessons learned and best practices thereby saving time and money along the road to sustainability. We do this by:

  • Raising awareness of the importance of conservation and sustainable use of forest resources to national and regional agencies/groups
  • Promoting an understanding of the Model Forest approach among policy makers, practitioners, donors and the public
  • Promoting good governance systems that facilitate the sustainable management of forests and natural resources
  • Linking the Model Forest approach with national policies, policy reforms and other national or regional forest strategies


The Model Forest approach is recognized as an effective tool for participatory stakeholder engagement at a landscape scale that is itself based on learning by doing (aka “action research”).  Stakeholders learn from their own practices then generate further actions based on their own experiences and capabilities. The more knowledge that is generated, the more practical processes emerge.

There are a number of research efforts addressing cross-cutting issues and challenges pertaining to the sustainable management of forests and natural resources within and outside the Asia region. Some of these are related to climate change, carbon sequestration, environmental services, desertification and natural disaster management. We support both ‘hard’ and social science research at local and national levels by linking researchers with community members so that studies are directly relevant to people’s lives. We can also act as testing grounds for nationally relevant initiatives, such as the development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management or REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) requirements.