Without dramatic shifts in economic development strategies – away from a reliance on extraction, exploitation, and consumption, and toward alternative pathways which value forests and people – the world will not meet its ambitious goals for sustainable development, climate, and forests.
Economic shifts are pushing more people toward livelihood activities that can impact forests. The area of shifting agriculture is declining as permanent, intensive agriculture increases. The number of artisanal and small-scale miners has tripled in the last two decades. And demand for fuelwood, charcoal, non-timber forest products, and grazing shows little sign of slowing.
Largely top-down development plans often fail to provide commensurate investments in sustainable local economies and to address the systemic nature of both poverty and deforestation, resulting in one-dimensional interventions.
Company support for small-scale supply chain actors and affected local communities is not able to address underlying structural vulnerabilities.
Indigenous peoples, local communities, smallholders, and civil society actors have mobilized to gain access to and influence planning to protect forest lands and to demonstrate the viability of community-based natural resource management and other bottom-up approaches to development and forest protection.
Funding flows toward interventions to alleviate poverty while reducing deforestation remain miniscule compared to non-forest-aligned investments.