Family Forestry Program

Amazonian Basin countries are responding to global and local calls to promote environmental sustainability as a strategy for confronting climate change and poverty. New policies are intended to operationalize environmental sustainability and provide incentives for more environmentally and socially sound development initiatives. Amazonian governments are increasingly in need of examples of socially and environmentally sustainable development to offset the expansion of large-scale industrial production of oil palm, soybeans and cattle.

Since the mid 1990s, the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability has been building an Amazonian Family Forestry Program in partnership with Amazonia-based research and development. The most encouraging result of the family forestry program is that the household income of families has become more dependent on sustainably produced timber and non-timber forest products than on agricultural resources. Further development of these and other practices through the Amazonian Family Forestry Program is helping not only to reverse the trend of deforestation and increase forest cover, but also to enhance local livelihoods and raise incomes of rural families.

Based on these successful results, the Amazonian Family Forestry Program has been expanded to the Ucayali and Loreto provinces in the Peruvian Amazon. Currently, the project is engaged in demonstration and training activities to disseminate best forestry practices and to translate such practices into policies that can help regional and local governments to promote sustainable production of timber and non-timber products.

The Family Forestry Program is led by Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, the Earth Institute Center on Environmental Sustainability’s director of international programs, and Nancy Degnan, the center’s director of education programs.