Research objectives and approaches

CIFOR has been a partner of the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) since it was established in 2012. Following the first phase of the ASFCC project (1 January 2012 – 31 March 2014), CIFOR is currently undertaking research for Phase 2 (1 January 2014 – 31 December 2016).

CIFOR is contributing towards the broader ASFCC objectives of:

  1. Identifying learning interventions and best practices in social forestry and climate change for broader implementation and policy development outcomes
  2. Strengthening local, national and regional knowledge sharing, communication and networking on social forestry and climate change

CIFOR research objectives:

Specifically, CIFOR’s research within the ASFCC program aims to:

  1. Understand how existing horizontal and vertical social networks can serve to enhance opportunities and diminish obstacles for forest communities to participate meaningfully in and benefit from REDD+ projects.
  2. Understand how local knowledge, practices, institutions, and local resource management (including shifting cultivation systems) can contribute to achieving REDD+ objectives, thus enhancing REDD+ project outcomes.
  3. Understand how local resource management systems including shifting cultivation (with varying spatial and temporal characteristics) contribute to carbon sequestration and stocks as well as to REDD+ co-benefits.

Research questions:

  1. What are the spatial and temporal scales of shifting cultivation systems in selected landscapes?
  2. What are the carbon stocks and species diversity at different stages of shifting cultivation systems (swidden fields and fallows of varying ages) as well as in other forest management systems of the shifting cultivation communities?
  3. How do the forest management systems of the shifting cultivators contribute to local people’s livelihoods (including food security)?
  4. What are the most important socio-economic factors that influence land-use decision making within selected shifting cultivation communities?
  5. How does “multi-locality” of shifting cultivation households and communities and their existing social networks (such as rural-urban and rural-rural interactions) influence information and resource exchange within the communities, and what are the implications for livelihoods and food security?

Research methods and capacity development:

With partners in Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos, CIFOR is conducting:

  • Comparative reviews of existing social forestry practices and their related governance systems in Indonesia
  • Legal and policy reviews of social and community forestry in Vietnam over past three decades
  • Social and economic assessments of livelihoods, and migration and multi-locality practices of swidden communities in Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam
  • Field inventories of fallow forests and their contribution to local livelihoods in Laos
  • Participatory observations and focus group discussions at the local and sub-national level in each study country.
  • Assessment of the land use dynamics in swidden landscapes and their corresponding carbon flows in the field sites of all three study countries

The capacity development program includes technical and communications training for government, academia and civil society partners. Scholarships are also provided for graduate students through a partnership with the National University of Laos.