Despite destroying both forests and forest-dependent peoples’ livelihoods, industrial scale logging and agriculture plantations are often presented as the only routes to pulling developing countries out of poverty. In fact, evidence increasingly shows that smallholder forestry and agriculture, when promoted by state policy and protected with secure land rights, can be much more effective at providing income, producing food, and protecting environmental quality for future generations.
Fern works with partners to develop and promote livelihood models in the following ways:
1. Showing the economic, social and environmental benefits of small-scale production models, to allow civil society to advocate for alternatives to the large-scale industrial production model.
2. Collecting different countries’ experiences of small-scale livelihood models, to help develop new models in other countries.
3. Connecting people working on small-scale livelihood models in different countries, to enable them to learn directly from each other.
For further information on forests as a viable alternative to logging, read Community forests: A discussion document for Fern and partners as well as a paper from staff member Julia Christian summarising her research in Mexico and Guatemala: Lessons learned from community forests in Mexico and Guatemala, to benefit community forest work in West and Central Africa. Also see Photo blog: Mexico's community forest protectors for an exhibition of her photos taken in the field. Finally, these reports explain more about the role of community forestry in improving forest and climate governance in the Congo Basin.