Last updated August 2008

Section: Project > Project Approach



Project approach

The project works in six different sites to test this process of environmental mediation.

These sites are:

Project general approach

All six sites have identified forest or land management issues which require some form of collective action.

Fig LPF general improved approach

We learnt during the course of the project that four categories of results are required to get a living agreement: (1) Good initialization, (2) Empowerment, (3) Environmental mediation (4) Re-enforcement of the agreement through markets and external actors. These four categories organize the structure of the project results as in logical framework.

The goal of the initialization phase is to ensure that the project team will be able to play the role of mediator. The team has identified the stakeholders, the scale and the limits of the resources, the kind of issues and the team estimates it can handle this mediation. We learnt from the LPF experience in Matang that if resources area or number of stakeholders is too large it is advisable to downscale in order to make the project intervention more feasible. More importantly, during this phase the demand of stakeholders for project mediation and intervention should be identified. In the case of Java, it took time to get approval for intervention from different levels. This initialization scale also requires a minimum of surveys to be used as baseline and also to help the project team to understand the issues at play.

The empowerment phase aims to level ‘the playing field’. The project works in contexts where communities are involved in a negotiation with more powerful third parties such as large companies or agencies. Within the communities, some individuals may try to capture project activities to develop their own power. In such contexts without project intervention fair negotiation has little chance to take place. Through capacity building, information sharing and development of collective micro-livelihood-projects, the project will develop the capacity of the community to act collectively, to cooperate with more powerful parties and express collective demands regarding the use and management of forest and natural resources. This will create the pre-requisite conditions that enable the negotiation phase to take place.

The goal of the negotiation phase is to reach an agreement between the community and external parties regarding the use and management of forest resources. The institutionalization of places for negotiation and discussions about trends helps stakeholders to progressively share views on forest issues. Discussions about trends can be facilitated by the use of role playing games as we did in the case of Palawan, models or maps as in the case of Jepara. The key outputs of this negotiation phase are:

  • a common, long-term objective regarding forest resources; and
  • an associated plan build collectively along with the organizational structure to implement it.

The goal of the reinforcement phase is to ensure that local community and other stakeholders have the long-term commitment and capacity to implement the agreement. We developed, in the case of Java, the capacity of the community to monitor the implementation of the agreement that was signed with the State Company. The community learnt to monitor the forest growth to control their share of the wood and to look after the forest by organizing patrols to avoid illegal logging. Even if the negotiation phase is completed successfully, new powerful stakeholders can come in and impose different development goals. To prevent such a situation from occurring, the development of networks to support the agreements of local communities could be useful for instance by publicizing the value of the agreement in a newspaper or by involving new powerful stakeholders. In one village in Java, the project helped the community and the State Company to develop a plantation agreement with the Accor Hotel group, that reinforced the relationships between the State Company and the community as both parties were proud of it. In the case of Matang, the village management plan has been integrated into the district master plan, this is another form of reinforcement. A significant problem, as expressed by the indigenous people in Palawan, was that they said that they understood to the value of the LPF goal to avoid irreversible deforestation, however, they did not see the immediate rewards, but, on the contrary, they observed that their rice production decreased. A potential solution to this problem could be found in bringing new form of rewards for sustainable management of forest resources which could contribute to the reinforcement of community commitments regarding their stewardship forest resources. This method was not employed during the LPF project

Table 1: The four categories of results for environmental mediation in the Tropics

Categories of Results

Results as in logframe

Key activities done by the project

1 Initialization

Key actors’ demand for external intervention identified

Consultations and workshops conducted to figure out mediation demands from key actors

Identification of issues


2 Empowerment of local stakeholders

Community acts less as individuals and forms and selects representatives through a democratic process

Facilitated development of information system for transparency within community

Community acts on their list of priorities and learns from experiences

Facilitated development of micro-projects, which provide to the community members collective action experiences.

Community representatives act transparently with regard to their environment and livelihoods

Built capacity for transparently managing local organizations

3 Environmental negotiation

Key actors’ demand for external intervention identified

Conducted consultations and workshops to figure out mediation demands from key actors

Places of negotiation set up

Established forum for multi-stakeholder dialogues and negotiation at community level and at least at one level up (district).

Key actors including community representatives negotiate and agree upon long-term objective

Facilitated negotiation between local community and external actors

Action plan with role of actors, rights to resources, management structures, system of control designed by actors

Project helps upon request, external expertise can be called on upon actors’ request

Agreement elaborated


4 Reinforcement and networking

New actors recognize agreement and contribute to plan

Helped local actors to widen their network (i.e. contacts with microcredit institutions, NGOs, governmental agencies).

Role of natural resources in relation to people’s livelihood is understood by local actors, including external parties and researchers

Facilitated research, workshops, individual interviews, awareness

A current or potential partner indicates forward contract for new environmental product

Created links between external actors and communities, which may improve local community livelihood and/or create sustainable financial agreements

Our main hypothesis is that if all these results are achieved we should have a successful mediation process with improved forest management and the livelihoods of stakeholders.

Observed indicators

We used the following indicators to assess whether the results have been achieved.

P.1. Empowerment

C.1.1. Community members committed to collective decision

C.1.2. Community representatives make more proposals about environmental livelihoods, act on list of environmental priorities and learn from experience

I.1.1.1. Community members select representatives through democratic process

I.1.2.1. Community representatives learnt from their experiences

I.1.1.2. Transparency in decision making process

I.1.2.2 Community acts on a list of environmental priorities

I.1.1.3. Benefit and cost of collective decision is shared

I.1.2.3. Community produce proposals in participatory way and send to the funder/partner


P.2. Environmental mediation

C.2.1. Role of natural resources in relation to peoples livelihood understood and acted upon by researchers and key actors

C.2.2. Key actors demand for intervention identified

C.2.3. Key actors, incl. community representatives negotiate and agree on a common long-term objective

C.2.4. Place of negotiation is institutionalized

I.2.1.1. New knowledge about interaction between natural resources and local people is shared

I.2.2.1. Key actors express the demand for intervention, e.g. written/reported statement, MoU

I.2.3.1. Statement of agreed common vision exists

I.2.4.1. A place/forum for negotiation is established for key actors to meet

I.2.1.2. Key actors agree and act on trends regarding the natural resources & livelihood

I.2.2.2. Key actors involved in LPF activity

I.2.3.2. Common vision publicly known (at least up to district level)

I.2.4.2. Common issues discuss by key actors

I.2.1.3. Some community members get new incomes from forest agreements or process related micro project

I.2.3.3 People commitment (people act according to the common vision)


I.1.2.2 Community acts on a list of environmental priorities

I.2.4.3. Decision taken by key actors in this place/forum



P.3. Re-enforcement

C.3.1. Third parties, in relation to key actors, indicate forward contract for new environmental revenues or rewards

C.3.2. Scientists able to communicate and influence development actors by using simple simulation approaches

C.3.3. Institutions publish or communicate more on environmental stewardship approaches and methods

I.3.1.1. New environmental revenues or rewards are implemented (e.g. new partnership/ agreement)

I.3.2.1. Simulation tools (model, game, facilitation game) exist and presented

I.3.3.1. Scientific publications (journal papers) written from LPF case studies and concepts

I.3.1.2. Key actors involved in developing a new environmental product and service

I.3.2.2. Key actors understand and recognize the usefulness of the simulation tools

I.3.3.2. Papers presented at International/National Conference

I.3.1.3. Expression of interest by external party in the environmental product

I.3.2.3. Key actors’ perceptions are influenced by tools

I.3.3.3. Book, guidelines and tools


I.3.3.4. LPF approaches and cases used in academic lecturing


I.3.3.5. Media outreach (incl. website, leaflet, newsletter, newspaper)


I.3.3.6. Policy briefs

From purpose to overall objectives

One of the overall project objectives is to refine the mediation process we proposed at the beginning of the project. Initially, there were three categories of results; during the course of the project we refined these results and we discovered a fourth category was required for the successful implementation of decisions taken during negotiation. This category is the reinforcement of agreements through networks with external actors.

The project does not give financial resources to local actors to develop their projects. Local actors themselves, or some external actors, can fund their projects. The sites were chosen because of their proximity to renewable resources such as natural forest, planted forests, marine resources, which can provide incomes if managed wisely under some form of collective action. The resources needed by local communities to implement their plans can come also through partnerships with external actors.


LPF Home | Indonesia | Malaysia | Philippines | Events | Publications | Contact Us

Copyright © CIFOR 2004 - This project ended January 2007. This website was last updated 18 August 2008.
We have kept the website available for our readers’ convenience. For the most recent information in this research area, visit here.
Site designed by CIFOR - Webmaster: