The project works to improve livelihoods and restore and preserve the local forests. Villagers often used to cut the trees when they needed money. But with new skills, knowledge and security, they can manage plantations for the future, including by letting some of their trees grow large enough to reach their full potential value, a process that takes years. Such plantations fit with the government’s policy of increasing forest cover to 70 percent of the country’s land area by 2020, while also helping to combat climate change, because larger trees store more carbon.
"I want to sell the trees in the future and use the income to expand my plantation."
RECOFTC has supported community forestry in Lao PDR for decades, recognizing that the people who depend on local forests are best placed to look after them. More than 70 percent of the Lao population lives in rural areas and rely on forest resources to support their incomes. The FLOURISH project focuses on teak farmers. It builds on the successful efforts in remote Bokeo Province to secure land and ownership rights to teak smallholders and ensure sustainability of their plantations.
More than 80 land smallholders from five villages have now also received certificates in neighbouring Xayabouly, bringing the total with RECOFTC’s support to almost 300.
“I want to sell the trees in the future and use the income to expand my plantation,” says Xiengchanh from Xayabouly, who also received his certificate at the group ceremony in September 2019 (link).
Across the border in Thailand and Viet Nam, where forest degradation is also a problem, the project, funded by the German government’s International Climate Initiative (IKI), supports local communities wanting to develop forest enterprises such as bamboo plantations.