Sustainable Forestry for Rural Development Project



The Sustainable Forestry for Rural Development project (SUFORD) is a multilateral cooperation project between the Government of Laos, the Government of Finland and the World Bank to achieve the sustainable management of natural production forests to alleviate rural poverty in Laos.

The project was originally implemented from 2003 to 2008 (Phase I), with a second extension period subsequently in operation from 2009 to 2012 (Phase II) and a further stage planned (Phase III). SUFORD aims to provide support in the formulation and reform of forest policy, the classification of forest land and the demarcation of natural production forests, village development on the ground. It also aims to provide broad technical advice, training and capacity building.

The four main objectives of the project are: 1) to improve policy, legal and incentive frameworks to enable the expansion of Participatory Sustainable Forest Management (PSFM) throughout the country; 2) to bring the country’s priority natural production forests under PSFM; 3) to improve villagers’ well-being and livelihoods through benefits from sustainable forestry, community development and the development of viable livelihood systems.

In the Phase I, eight Production Forest Areas (PFAs) were established in the four provinces of Khamuane, Savannakhet, Salavan and Champasak, for the production of timber and non-timber forest products with the involvement of local communities. This work was then expanded to additional provinces in Phase II.

Specifically regarding REDD+, the project has aimed to facilitate intersectoral coordination and cooperation for equitable benefit sharing for local communities, strengthen the impacts of PSFM through continued operational support to field implementation, improvements in forest management quality through better internal control and capacity building, and independent certification. It has also aimed to facilitate improved consultation with ethnic groups, develop and implement a programme on forest and wildlife law enforcement, and has supported a REDD+ demonstration site in Dong Sithuane Production Forest Area.

SUFORD has also supported the development of new and innovative methodologies for REDD monitoring. High resolution satellite images and airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) analysis proved cost effective tools for carbon assessment. SUFORD has also provided a REDD+ technical advisor to the Department of Forestry (DOF) and has supported the participation of Laos in UNFCCC negotiations, REDD+ Partnership meetings, and the multi-lateral FCPF and FIP programmes. 

Stakeholder engagement and participation

Production Forest Areas are being set up to be managed as per the Participatory Sustainable Forest Management approach. Under the approach, Production Forest Areas are sustainably managed based on the participation of villagers in forest management planning, management and revenue sharing as per established guidelines.

Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights

Setting up of the Production Forest Areas has included village land use planning and allocation.


Applies World Bank safeguards.


Regarding MRV, monitoring of carbon stocks has been tested in a ‘LIDAR pilot project’ and a ‘Monitoring Techniques for Carbon Stock Monitoring project’ under SUFORD.