WASHINGTON, DC, February 6, 2012 -- Today, the Tropical Forest Foundation released its 2011 Global Impact Summary, which reports that the organization trained 1,074 individuals through 78 training sessions throughout the year, impacting nearly 20 million hectares of tropical forests across three continents. Through its regional project centers in Brazil, Indonesia, Guyana, Gabon and a prospective new center in Peru, the foundation has helped to advance the economic development of forest-dependent communities by teaching improved forestry practices through on-the-ground training programs. To download a PDF of the 2011 Global Impact Summary, click here. Read more...
“We are thrilled to have made significant progress in spreading the message about sustainable forest management in 2011,” said Bob Johnston, Executive Director of TFF. “From establishing partnerships with international organizations and exploring the potential for a new training center, to increasing the number of participants in existing training programs, TFF’s efforts in 2011 have helped communities make better decisions about their forest resources and advance their economic development. We look forward to continuing with these efforts in 2012.”A major 2011 highlight included international recognition of TFF’s expertise in Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank. RIL, a set of forest management practices that reduce damage done by harvesting, helps to improve the long-term viability of forest concessions and assists in the economic development of communities. The IFC fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries and turned to TFF in 2011 to help establish a company-community business model and develop technical forestry skills in Bolivia. Steve Gretzinger, Senior Global Forestry Specialist for the IFC, said, “TFF has a practical and focused skill set in Reduced Impact Logging; few others have that.”
TFF also looked to expand its impact by partnering with FORM International to explore the viability of a new training center in Peru with two pilot training courses attended by 40 individuals. The FORM International study cited significant savings resulting from improved management practices, including reducing harvesting costs by 30 to 40 percent when planning straight roads, and causing 30 to 40 percent less damage to forests. Participants were enthusiastic about the possibility of extending production cycles and reducing costs, which will also help sustain the forest and the economic viability of the local community. TFF is eager to advance toward securing funding and launching the training center in 2012.
Significant progress was also made in TFF’s four project centers in Indonesia, Guyana, Brazil and Gabon.
TFF has been busier than ever in Indonesia, training 221 participants through nine RIL courses in 2011. One training session in Papua New Guinea helped a remote community develop the understanding and protocols required to maintain their concession’s certification. The training also resulted in the construction of an 800-meter road to access lumber that will be sustainably harvested and delivered to a secured Australian buyer, bringing vital international value to the forest products of this community. Additionally, the direct link between TFF’s RIL training programs and progression toward certification in Indonesia was demonstrated by three concessions representing nearly 430,000 hectares of forest that became certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This effort made the concessions even more competitive and recognized in the global marketplace, raising the awareness of the positive impact of RIL on communities.
GUYANA, SOUTH AMERICA
The Guyana Forestry Training Center (FTCI) in South America continued to advance sustainable management of the country’s forests by hosting 27 improved forestry practices courses and training 327 individuals, of which 230 were trained specifically in RIL. In addition, the FTCI hosted several “Decision Makers Courses” to help forestry stakeholders understand the issues in their forestry sectors and learn how to improve their management. These courses were a collaborative effort between the FTCI, local conservation groups, community members, the forest industry and government officials. The FTCI also strengthened ties with indigenous communities, which collectively own about 14 percent of Guyana’s land area, by developing training modules specifically designed for indigenous groups.
At the Instituto Floresta Tropical (IFT) in Brazil, TFF’s first-ever training center, more than 500 individuals attended 39 training courses in 2011, a substantial increase over the 404 people trained in 2010. One of the courses was conducted in Peru as part of the TFF study analyzing the feasibility of starting a training center there. In 2011, the IFT also held nine workshops and lectures to build awareness of forest management among 430 community members, university students, forest management engineers and other professionals. A final highlight of 2011 in Brazil was the agreement secured with the United States Forest Service. The agreement supports the United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) – a partnership will help the IFT provide monitoring and data reporting from the Brazilian Amazon to support research efforts around RIL and carbon accounting.
Implemented in April 2008 in cooperation with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the sustainable forest training model in Gabon in the Congo Basin trained more than 250 people from communities, schools, and government in RIL. In 2011, TFF facilitated an evaluation of the project with expert support from ITTO. Following the evaluation report delivered at the ITTO meeting in November, a new grant proposal was submitted to continue offering training.
About the Tropical Forest Foundation
The Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF) is an international, non-profit, educational institution committed to advancing environmental stewardship, economic prosperity, and social responsibility through sustainable forest management (SFM). TFF regional programs in Asia Pacific, Africa and South America have become synonymous with the promotion and training of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL). For 20 years, TFF has fostered dialogue and alliances among industry, government, and academia, as well as the research and conservation communities to improve tropical forest management around the world and increase the economic value of these forests for those who depend upon its bounty for their livelihood.