Making forestry work for the poor



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Poverty poses a major challenge for developing countries and contributing to poverty alleviation has been a crucial issue for the Asia-Pacific forestry sector over the last decade. Achievements have, however, often fallen short of expectations. The high incidence of poverty in forested areas, the high dependence of the poor on forest resources and the vast areas of forestland under state control demandan enhanced role for forestry in poverty eradication and a redoubling and re-strategizing of efforts inthe forestry sector as the 2015 target for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularlyMDG 1 of halving the number of people living in absolute poverty, draws closer.This regional study implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asiaand the Pacific, in partnership with Asia Forest Network (AFN) with the support of Asia-Pacific Networkfor Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), aims to document the extent to whichdifferent activities and factors in forestry have been effective in reducing poverty, as well as to identifythe opportunities and threats to future efforts given existing initiatives and the outlook for the region’sforestry sector. The study forms part of FAO’s APFNet-funded project, “Making forestry work for thepoor: Adapting forest policies to poverty alleviation strategies in Asia and the Pacific”, which is aimedat assisting forestry agencies in contributing to national poverty alleviation goals. This overview chapter provides background information on the study and summarises key themesdrawn from the country reports and other relevant studies.