Contributions of FORETS to Local Development

Through development and professional training, research and awareness-raising, as well as a strong network of local and international partners, the FORETS project will contribute to local socio-economic development. It will also promote and protect the biodiversity of the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve, train researchers and other relevant stakeholders at the local level for more effective land use and natural resource management. To do this, the project will have three areas of focus:

    1. Contribution to the protection and sustainable management of the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve. In order to maintain or enhance the value of Yangambi’s exceptional biodiversity, work will be conducted with local communities to:

      • Quantify existing resources and analyze land use, economic conditions and spatial planning organization;
      • Raise awareness locally about the conservation and management of the biosphere reserve;

      Secondly, to ensure the maintenance of the ecosystem services of the reserve and its surroundings and to ensure that local communities benefit more through conservation actions, the project will contribute to: 

      • Develop participatory plans to better benefit from ecosystem services;
      • Restore and develop local research infrastructures in the area around the reserve.


    2. Promote the contribution of agriculture, forests and ecosystem services to the development of people living around the reserve. To improve people’s livelihoods by helping them to increase the value of goods they produce, the following activities will be conducted:

      • Identification of needs and communication of data and research results to local entrepreneurs and managers;
      • Assessment of agricultural, agro-forestry and forestry value chains and practices and contribution to local development plans;
      • Analysis of the feasibility and impacts of forest plantations for multiple uses, including local energy production.


    3. Reduce deforestation and increase carbon storage through the protection, restoration and management of natural resources. To contribute to the long-term management of a landscape that encompasses the reserve and its surroundings and to build the capacity of local experts, the FORETS project will:

      • Create an applied research agenda for sustainable forest management, including the most exploited resources, such as timber and game.

      To promote the development of skills and capacities for sustainable forest management and biodiversity, we will:

      • Accompany master’s and PhD students and train the people involved in the project.

This project, which is funded by the European Union, is led by CIFOR as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).