Co-Chairs’ Summary : Dialogue on Forests and Rural Livelihoods

From 21-24 October The Forests Dialogue (TFD) convened a broad group of stakeholders in Sykyvkar, Republic of Komi, Russian Federation to discuss how forests and forest industry contribute to rural livelihoods. Komi provided a local context for this discussion, which also drew on experience and perspective from New Zealand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, the United States, South Africa, Indonesia and Bolivia. Participants worked to identify key challenges and opportunities related to rural forest livelihoods, in Komi and around the world.

Local and international participants representing forest industry, NGOs, community groups, indigenous organizations, government, development agencies and academia participated in the Dialogue and field visits to villages, logging settlements and forestry enterprises in the Priluzje region of Komi. They observed how the forestlivelihood connection is manifested in such issues as a new forest concession system and its impact on small-medium enterprises, the use of contractors, mechanization of the logging process, out-migration from depressed forest villages, the key role of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the rural economy, and attempts to incorporate greater local input in forest management.

The meeting’s objectives were to:

  • Examine illustrative cases and identify obstacles to replication elsewhere;
  • Clarify the stakeholder roles, commitments and actions necessary to realize the potential for commercial forestry to reduce poverty;
  • Continue TFD’s development of best practices and guidelines for commercial forestry and poverty reduction that began in 2006.