Policy reforms and institutional change that support collaborative management efforts, such as community-based forest management in the Philippines, forest village development in Thailand and joint forest management in India, are attempts by respective governments to improve governance and balance the social, economic and environmental demands placed on forests.
Adopting good governance principles allows for transparency in decision-making and ensures stakeholder participation in the planning process in order to be equitable and inclusive. In our experience, failure to adopt these principles often results in management objectives that are either unattainable or seriously compromised. Additionally, a clear legal and policy framework is essential to avoid conflicting land use policies.
As reported in a number of Model Forests in the region, illegal activities such as timber poaching and the unregulated collection of wildlife continue due to a low enforcement capacity. Confrontations between law enforcers and illegal loggers have at times ended in armed conflict.
The Model Forest approach has been considered an appropriate tool to ensure good forest governance due to its representative, participative, transparent and accountable decision-making structure. We will use the strengths of the Model Forest approach and our locally-based partnerships to: