Bolstering forest landscape governance research in Southeast Asia
In early December 2023, the team from the Explore Secretariat visited research groups and partners in Cambodia. This visit was to one of many Explore focus countries to support research grantees in bringing their projects to life. By interacting with local stakeholders, the team gained valuable insights into how Explore-supported research grants are implemented and how local authorities view their benefits.
Explore is supporting seven regional multidisciplinary teams researching ways to improve the governance of forest landscapes in the Asia-Pacific region. As the only research network in the world focused on forest landscape governance, Explore is dedicated to creating meaningful change.
The team visiting Cambodia included Explore’s Program Manager, Dr. Hao Zhuang, Program Coordinator, Sirichai Saengcharnchai and First Secretary and Senior Research Advisor of Sida, Dr. Eren Zink. They took part in a two-day workshop in Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia, which was attended by a diverse group of stakeholders, including women leaders, community forestry user group representatives, local schools, monks, local government bodies, and non-governmental organizations.
The workshop was part of the “Collaborative forest landscape governance towards a resilient and sustainable future” project. This ambitious project is working to create a model for collaborative forest landscape governance (FLG) that will guide the restoration of forest landscapes in key locations across Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. The consultation encouraged dialogue and helped build trust with key stakeholders. Extending these sessions across all project countries allows for the crafting of shared goals, support the adoption of the proposed governance model, and secure commitment from key stakeholders.
Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture’s Head of Forestry Science Department, Ms. Ratha Kea and Associate Professor Von Monin led a focus group discussion on a participatory risk and vulnerability assessment. This important assessment framework developed by researchers at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) is used across all project locations. This participatory approach allowed individuals to express their concerns and suggest practical solutions, ensuring that a wide range of perspectives were represented.
Vice-chief of the Department of Environment in Kampong Chhnang Province, Mr. Chhoeun Vuth, shared how the research project supports their efforts in planting more trees, contributing to Cambodia’s goals outlined in the Nationally Determined Contributions. He added, “The research project holds promise. The results could inform us in developing a strong tree plantation plan for the province.”
This research project, which spans multiple countries, is led by Professor Rose Jane J. Peras of the UPLB. In 2022, the project secured research funding of up to USD 190,000 from the Explore program. With additional support from the Explore Secretariat, the project also secured an extra co-funding of USD 53,500 from the Forest Foundation Philippines (FFP). These small yet significant steps taken to ensure meaningful participation of relevant stakeholders lay the groundwork for impactful forest landscape governance.
Explore is a research network and community of practice dedicated to expanding and applying knowledge on forest landscape governance in Southeast Asia. The network is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). It is hosted by RECOFTC, in partnership with the CIFOR-ICRAF, in collaboration with universities, research institutes, governments, civil society organizations, local communities, and the private sector in Southeast Asia.
For more information about Explore, contact email@example.com.
To become a member of Explore, visit recoftc.com/projects/explore/about-explore.
RECOFTC’s work is made possible with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.