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Priority Issues

Food, Fuel, Fiber and Forest

Exclusion & Inclusion of Women in the Forest Sector

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent

Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry

Forests and Climate

Forests and Poverty Reduction

Intensively Managed Planted Forests

Genetically Modified Trees

Forests and Biodiversity Conservation

Small Forests Owners and Sustainable Forest Practices

Illegal Logging

REDD+ Benefit Sharing

Forest Certification


Contact Information

The Forests Dialogue Secretariat
Yale University
360 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

T +1 203 432 5966
F +1 203 432 3809

James Mayers
TFD Co-Leader

Carlos Roxo
TFD Co-Leader

Gary Dunning
Executive Director

The Forests Dialogue

Latest News

UPCOMING EVENT: Panel on Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry – TFD Side Event at UNFF10 in Istanbul 12 April 2013

TFD will lead a side event on “Key Findings from TFD’s Dialogues on Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry” at the United Nations Forum on Forests that takes place 8-19 April 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.

A diverse panel of forest stakeholders will share their experience and insights on how to best invest in locally controlled forestry.

Location: TOPKAPI A Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Center (LKCC)
Time: 12 April 2013, 18:00-19:30hrs

Moderator: Xiaoting Hou – The Forests Dialogue (TFD)

Presenters and Panel:
Gary Dunning  - The Forests Dialogue (TFD)
Ghan Shyam Pandey – Global Alliance of Community Forestry (GACF)
Peter deMarsh – International Family Forest Alliance (IFFA)
Hubertus Samangun – Ikatan Cendekiawan Tanimbar Indonesia (ICTI)
Bjorn Merkell – Swedish Forest Agency (SFA)
Diji Chandrasekharan Behr - PROFOR

Event Flyer

First REDD+ Benefit Sharing Dialogue in Washington D.C., United States

ThisDialogue in Washington D.C. was a first scoping exercise for the REDD+ Benefit Sharing Initiative, which aims to develop and understand the current state of REDD+ Benefit Sharing in several key countries and to identify the challenges of designing and implementing those mechanisms more broadly. The REDD+ Initiative seeks to build a “community of practice” among locally-rooted, well-connected REDD practitioners to share experiences and develop practical tools that support effective, efficient and equitable benefit sharing for REDD+. Through the initiative, we expect to promote appropriate economic, policy and institutional arrangements at the local, national and international levels and to facilitate equitable and efficient delivery of REDD+ benefits.



TFD Welcomes Five New Steering Committee Members

Eduardo Mansur is currently the Director of the Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division at FAO and is based in Rome, Italy. Mansur has had a long history at FAO, where he has worked in several capacities since 1984. Mansur holds an M.Sc. in Forestry Economics from the University of Helsinki and a B.Sc. in Forestry from the Federal University of Paraná.

Milagre Nuvunga is the Executive Director at MICAIA Foundation in the UK. As a trained forester, Nuvunga has worked in several capacities for UNDP, WWF and the Ford Foundation. Nuvunga has spent considerable time working in East Africa, where much of her work focused on natural product development, community tourism and environmental justice.

Sara Namirembe has been working for ICRAF as a Research Analyst in Environmental Services since October 2010. Sara has extensive experience in agroforestry and in facilitating landscape-based natural resource management and conservation. Previously, she served as Lecturer and Department Head of Community Forestry at Makerere University and holds a B.S. in Forestry from that same institution. In addition, she holds a Master's in Forestry and Environmental Management from the University of New Brunswick and a Ph.D. in Forestry and Agricultural Sciences from the University of Wales.

Teri Shanahan is Vice President of Sustainability for International Paper, based in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.  Her role encompasses creating and executing a global strategy for the corporation as it pertains to social, environmental and economic performance. Previously, Shanahan has held various positions related to sales and marketing within International Paper since 1991. Shanahan holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Serving as the Director of Forest Action Network (FAN) since 1994, Dominic Walubengo is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Walubengo works with local communities, policy makers and researchers to advocate for an improved policy and legislative climate for the sustainable management of natural resources. Walubengo holds a Ph.D. from Washington International University.


19th Annual Conference of the International Society of Tropical Foresters, Yale Chapter 24-26 January 2013 – New Haven, CT USA

On January 24-26, the Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters will gather practitioners and researchers from academia, government, and environment and development institutions to discuss how development and conservation goals can be integrated across food producing landscapes in the tropics in order to promote food security and healthy forests.  The conference will also consider at what scales this integration should occur, potential challenges to implementation, and lessons learned.

Xiaoting Hou will be speaking at the event about TFD’s Food, Fuel, Fiber and Forests (4Fs) Initiative, followed by a workshop on multi-stakeholder engagement (MSE) led by Gary Dunning. Visit the Yale ISTF Chapter Website for a full schedule of events and to register.

Second meeting of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Ad Hoc Expert Group on Forest Financing (AHEG2) 14-18 January 2013 – Vienna, Austria

Gary Dunning and TFD steering committee member Chris Buss (IUCN) spoke at the UNFF Expert Group on Forest Financing, scheduled to take place in Vienna. Dunning’s presentation on “Realizing the potential of investing in locally controlled forestry” introduced the Working Group One meeting on January 16 that seeks to identify national actions and strategies to mobilize financing for forests. Chris Buss addressed, in more detail, ways to implement the guidelines that have been outlined in the recent publication “Guide to Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry”.


Guide to Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry

Over the last 3 years, The Forests Dialogue (TFD), partnering with the Growing Forest Partnerships initiative, organized a series of country-level dialogues on the promise of—and challenges to—locally controlled forestry (LCF). The effort engaged over 400 forest owners, investors, NGOs, governments and intergovernmental agencies from over 60 countries. One of the results of this monumental effort is the Guide to Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry.

The new guide presents multi-stakeholder insights along with 17 case studies from across the world, from new to long-established businesses, in both developed and developing countries. It shows how investing in locally controlled forestry offers investors secure access, a “social license to operate,” reduced risks and better long term management opportunities, as well as evidence of social and environmental sustainability.

The guide looks in detail at how to encourage a happy marriage between “enabling investments” that prepare the ground for commercial success and “asset investments” that seek a return, usually as profit or products. The guide also includes a roadmap to successful investment in locally controlled forestry. This covers the business stages of proposition, establishment, validation, preparation, negotiation and performance, with specific advice on addressing the challenges faced by both investors and enterprises.

Download pdf


TFD and the 4Fs Partnership at COP 18 in Doha at the Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5 – Video

Complex problems require innovative solutions. At the Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5: Solutions for People in Drylands and Beyond, the natural resource and agriculture community share their solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation in agricultural landscapes. During the Ideas Marketplace, ideas, practices and technologies that are currently underway to address climate change in agriculture were showcased. Among them was TFD’s Executive Director, Gary Dunning, to speak about TFDs 4Fs Initiative and the budding 4Fs Partnership that is currently forming in support of fairer, more sustainable land-use choices. Gary's presentation begins at 6:39 or click here to forward to presentation. 


PRESS RELEASE: 7 November 2012

Government of Indonesia to explore ILCF Frameworks Based on TFD’s ILCF Dialogue Findings

Locally Controlled Forestry (LCF) has strong potential to contribute to poverty reduction, forest conservation, and social justice. Spanning over three years, The Forests Dialogue (TFD), with funding from the Growing Forest Partnership (GFP) initiative and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), convened extensive multi-stakeholder dialogues between more than 400 representatives from governments, NGOs, local communities, indigenous groups, business, finance and industry. The findings show that enabling communities to locally manage and generate income from their forests can be a triple win situation for communities, investors and governments. Two publications came out of the global multi-stakeholder effort (TFD Review and the ILCF Investment Guide) and can provide valuable guidance for policy makers.


PRESS RELEASE: 7 November 2012

Four Fs Can Connect Comunities and Corporations For Sustainable Outcomes

Connecting plans for producing food, fuel, fibre and forests offers opportunities for smallholder farmers and large companies to work together towards sustainable development - but this is rarely done, say researchers who hope to address this.

Under the auspices of The Forests Dialogue, they have organised a meeting in Brazil on 11-14 November that will gather stakeholders in agriculture, forestry, biofuels and food security to discuss ways to bridge gaps between sectors and between small-scale and large-scale players.

TFD member James Mayers — who heads the natural resources group at the International Institute for Environment and Development — points out the tension that can exist between these two scales.

“Corporations are good at producing food, fuel and fibre but often at the expense of forests and the local people who depend on them,” says Mayers. “Smallholders need livelihoods and are good at producing things too, but they are sometimes in conflict with corporations.”



About TFD

The Forests Dialogue (TFD) is a group of individuals from diverse interests and regions that are committed to the conservation and sustainable use of forests. Through a shared understanding of forest issues from their own dialogues, members of The Forests Dialogue work together in a spirit of teamwork, trust, and commitment. They believe that their actions and relationships can help catalyze a broader consensus on forest issues and encourage constructive, collaborative action by individual leaders that will improve the condition and value of forests.

The Forests Dialogue, which is ad hoc, seeks to support and reinforce existing efforts related to forest management. Members of TFD participate as individuals, not organizational delegates, and they aim to speak for a diversity of perspectives. TFD processes and activities are transparent, complement the actions of others, and seek to advance progress by creating leadership cadres on key issues based on individuals with broader personal consensus.

The Forests Dialogue Summary (PDF)

The Forests Dialogue Brochure (PDF)














The Forests Dialogue Strategic Plan 2011-2015 (PDF)



Priority Issues

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
“Free, prior, and informed consent” (FPIC) refers to the right of indigenous peoples to give or withhold their free, prior, and informed consent to activities that will affect their rights to their lands, territories and other resources including their intellectual property and cultural heritage. While the right itself is clearly affirmed, the practicalities for non-State parties to adhere to it are less clear and are to be the focus of the proposed TFD Initiative. TFD convened a Scoping Dialogue on this issue in 2010.
Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry
Forestland and forest-products enterprises managed by smallholders, community groups, and forest-dependent peoples can make significant contributions to sustainable development. However, the investment required for such enterprises is often lacking or misplaced. In addition, concerns have been raised about potential threats to the legal or customary rights of forest-dependent people when investments are made from outside. Work needs to be done to understand the problems faced by local forest owners and managers in this context, and solutions must be found to direct investments in a sound manner towards their enterprises. TFD convened a series of dialogues on these issues from 2009 to 2010.
Forests and Climate
Recent acceptance of the role of forests in combating climate change provides significant opportunity for the forest sector to play an influential role in international climate policy negotiations, both under the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change and its associated Protocols, and in relation to the emerging voluntary market for forest-based carbon offsets. For forest stakeholders to take advantage of this opportunity they must be aware of the developing policies and participate in their formation to the greatest extent possible. TFD convened a series of dialogues on this issue from 2007 to 2010.
Forest Certification
The last few years have seen the proliferation of certification of forest products on international and national scales. Until recently, the systems for certifiying these products systems stood fully apart from one another, with little communication between them on lessons learned or assessment of whether the schemes achieve their purposes. Seeking to facilitate the sharing of this information, TFD convened a series of dialogues from 2002 to 2004.
Forests and Biodiversity Conservation
Recognizing that there might be unrealized opportunities for collaboration between environmental groups and the forestry industry in the Atlantic rainforest region of Brazil—one of the most diverse and threatened areas of the world—TFD convened a series of dialogues from 2003 to 2007 focusing on improving cross-sectoral cooperation for biodiversity conservation in the region.
Illegal Logging
Illegal logging in many regions of the world causes social conflict, harms forest ecosystem health, and costs governments billions of dollars in lost tax revenue. A significant amount of this illegally cut wood enters global trade, depressing the prices of wood products and presenting unfair competition to those companies that respect the law. In a series of dialogues in 2005, TFD brought together business leaders, environmental and social NGOs, industry associations, forest owners, retailers, researchers, and intergovernmental organizations to share experiences and promote commitment to reducing illegal logging.
Intensively Managed Planted Forests
Plantation forests—even-aged stands of a single tree species established primarily for wood product

ion—are one of the defining features of forestry in the past century. An increasing proportion of these forests are “intensively managed”, that is, they are forests of relatively high productivity in which the owner makes a sustained investment to optimize returns from industrial wood supply. Such forests can provide important economic and ecological values, but they can also entail substantial environmental and social costs. TFD convened a series of dialogues from 2005 to 2008 on these issues, bringing together business leaders, environmental groups, researchers, certification organizations, and government agencies.

Forests and Poverty Reduction

By some estimates, over a billion people in developing countries depend on forests for their livelihoods, yet commercial forestry—especially small-scale commercial forestry—has had limited impact on reducing poverty. High capital and technological requirements, insecurity of land tenure over long time frames, and the small size of many enterprises have inhibited commercial wood production from becoming a significant factor in local economic growth. TFD convened a series of dialogues from 2006 to 2008 to explore so-called “pro-poor” commercial forestry, initiatives by governments, businesses, and others aimed at raising rural incomes through sustainable commercial forestry.

Small Forests Owners and Sustainable Forest Practices

Small forest landowners manage millions of hectares of forestland around the world and therefore must be included in efforts to promote sustainable forest management. With the exception of a few well-coordinated groups (Confederation of European Private Forest Owners, American Tree Farm System, and some local and regional cooperatives), small and family forest landowners tend to be heterogeneous and beyond the reach of most conventional mechanisms to promote and recognize sustainable management. TFD has begun a dialogue series to catalog the barriers faced by smallholders, to identify available sustainable management tools, and to explore the mechanisms by which markets can recognize landowners for sound practices.