New research network will improve forest landscape governance in Southeast Asia
26, April 2021
Explore network takes transboundary approach to transnational problems
Talk of the Forest
RECOFTC and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) today launched Explore, a new research network and community of practice dedicated to expanding and applying knowledge on forest landscape governance in Southeast Asia.
Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Explore will mobilize research on forest landscape governance focusing on gender, climate change, environment, human rights, poverty alleviation and COVID-19 recovery. Explore initially focuses on forest landscape governance in seven countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Viet Nam.
“Healthy forest landscapes are crucial to the security and wellbeing of all life on the planet,” said Eren Zink, Senior Research Advisor, Embassy of Sweden, Thailand. “Explore will conduct the kind of multidisciplinary and transboundary research that we need to tackle major challenges that can help resolve major problems threatening the forests and people of Southeast Asia and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on climate change.”
Forest landscape governance is the way people and organizations regulate forest landscapes. It is based on accountability, transparency, effectiveness, fairness, gender equality, social inclusion, access to information and respect for the rule of law. Good forest landscape governance lays the foundation for ensuring the land and forest tenure and use rights of indigenous and local communities are respected. It is also essential to stopping forest crime, deforestation and forest degradation, mitigating and adapting to climate change, preventing climate disasters and conserving biodiversity.
“To ensure thriving forests and communities, we need to strengthen the research that informs both policy and practice at the landscape level,” said David Ganz, Executive Director of RECOFTC, which hosts Explore. “We are losing more than half a million hectares of forest in Southeast Asia every year to illegal logging, conversion for agriculture and infrastructure development. Explore will help meet the urgent need for multidisciplinary and transboundary research to address the complex challenges we face.”
Explore is the only research network and community of practice in the world dedicated to forest landscape governance. The new initiative emphasizes gender equality and social inclusion. More than 50 percent of its advisory committee members are women, and Explore seeks equal representation by female researchers.
Network members will have the opportunity to participate in a community of practice within the Global Landscape Forum (GLF), the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on sustainable landscapes. Selected researcher members also have the opportunity to receive research support and training through a preparatory grant mechanism.
“Countries in Southeast Asia are aware of the importance of forest landscape governance,” said Robert Nasi, Director General of CIFOR. “But they are held back by gaps in knowledge and know-how. Explore will fill these gaps by helping universities and researchers work with policymakers, civil society, private sector and communities to co-create and apply emerging knowledge.”