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Forests and Conflict – Key Issues and Lessons Learned

by webadmin last modified Feb 14, 2013 03:16 AM
Contributors: Jean Brennan
Adelphi Research gGmbH Caspar-Theyß-Straße 14a D – 14193 Berlin 2004 In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.

This briefing paper explores the links between forests and violent conflict, focusing on five aspects: (1) the use of timber to finance violent conflict; (2) forests as battlegrounds for armed groups, (3) the contribution of logging to lower-scale conflicts; (4) the contribution of poor governance to conflict, and (5) impacts of conflicts on forest ecosystems. It builds on the 2003 USAID-commissioned study by ARD, Inc., on “Conflict Timber: Dimensions of the Problem in Asia and Africa” (Thomson and Kanaan 2003). However, this briefing paper reflects additional lessons from South America, which was not covered in ARD, Inc.’s study. By elaborating on possible options for addressing forest and conflict, this paper complements the continuing efforts of the U.S. government to examine the role of forest resources in people’s livelihoods, regional stability, and the world’s climate. Two of the most notable USAID initiatives dealing with forests and conflict are the 1995 Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), which paved the way for the 2002 Congo Basin Forest Partnership. Together, these two initiatives sought to save the Congo Basin’s forests while fostering sustainable development. More recently, the U.S. Presidential Initiative Against Illegal Logging, announced in July 2003, seeks to address the problem of illegal logging by facilitating good governance, community-based actions, and technology transfer. This paper explicitly draws on practical examples from USAID and other development agencies, and suggests a framework that USAID missions could use to analyze and address issues of forests and conflict in developing countries around the world.

Author(s): Jean Brennan

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