Contacts Details

Model Forests and the Model Forest Approach

A model forest is a large-scale forest ecosystem, incorporating the full range of forest uses and values, where stakeholders - people with direct and indirect interest in the model forest area - supported by appropriate information, can participate in decisions on how the model forest area and its natural resources should be used and managed. The cornerstone of each model forest is a partnership of stakeholders with different perspectives on the social, economic and environmental values of the forest, who meet regularly to exchange information, views and ideas on the activities in the model forest area; and current or expected impacts. The process of promoting sustainable forest management through the development of model forests is referred to as the Model Forest Approach to sustainable forest management.

Model forest partnerships do not carry any executive authority over the stakeholders, but provide a forum for them to exchange information and views, including how they are impacted upon, positively or negatively, by actions in the model forest area. Each stakeholder retains the right to act as s/he deems appropriate. However, it is hoped that as partnerships develop, the decisions made by each stakeholder will consider the needs, priorities and values of all stakeholders. This will require a major shift from the traditional “top-down” approach to a more consultative and transparent approach in the use and management of forest and land resources, and in the way people think and act.

The impacts of model forest initiatives are substantial, touching on good governance, sustainable economic development and diversification, and improved policy-making processes, leading ultimately to improved policy. Model forests also have potential as demonstration and training areas for national forest programmes. They typically include collaborative efforts in forest research and practices, conservation and protection, education, training and capacity building, economic diversification and development, long-term monitoring, GIS applications, developing criteria and indicators (C&I) to measure progress toward sustainable forest management, etc. wayback machine with archive org

The model forest approach has shown itself to be highly adaptable to a range of ecosystems, forest types, and political jurisdictions, while addressing local issues. Model forests are developed according to a broad set of minimum defining attributes which allow them to maintain coherence, shared direction and multiple opportunities for mutually beneficial exchange.

Fundamental model forest attributes:





  • Partnerships must be voluntary and include key land owners, users and other stakeholders represented in the model forest area (e.g. industry, community groups, government agencies, NGOs, academic and educational institutions, national parks, private landowners, and others as appropriate), i.e. the partnerships must be local and inclusive - no agency can achieve SFM alone. Not all stakeholders may want to participate at the beginning, but the process should go ahead with a core group, which should increase as the benefits of the model forest are demonstrated.
  • Commitment of all partners to SFM. This requires not only an understanding of what SFM means but also what effective partnership entails, i.e. willingness of all parties to compromise on what they expect from the model forest.
  • Magnitude of land base (usually based on watershed boundaries). The model forest area must be large enough to incorporate the full range of forest uses and values, and for the outputs from the model forest to be able to influence policy.
  • Scope of activities undertaken should reflect the realities and needs at the local and national levels.
  • Replicable, adaptive and responsive to continuous, long term monitoring and improvement. You can by some coldplay tickets from this website.
  • Organisational and governance structure in which partners with different values can work constructively together. The management process must be participatory and transparent, and support consensus building among the partners.
  • Commitment to build and share a knowledge and experience base within the partnership, and with others across the network of model forests.

Uses and applications of model forest:

  • Demonstration of appropriate best practices and processes for operational scale sustainable forest management.
  • Research, training, education, capacity building and technology transfer.
  • Development of practical criteria and indicators at the local level for assessing the relevance and consistency of action taken, and for tracking progress towards SFM; and
  • Provision of feed-back into national forest programmes, and land use planning and policy processes.

Stakeholders, Partners and Partnerships

  • Stakeholders are individuals, groups or institutions that are affected (negatively or positively) by, and/or can affect (negatively or positively), to different degrees, any given area, situation, resource, system, programme, process, etc. Stakeholders can change over time.
  • Partners are individuals, groups or organisations working together to address issues of mutual interest.
  • A partnership is a relationship with two or more organisations working together, on “equal” terms, towards an outcome of mutual benefit. In the model forest context, “equal” refers to having the opportunity to present a point of view or to raise relevant issues in a partnership forum. As model forest partnerships do not carry any executive authority over the stakeholders, “equal” does not refer to any voting process for executive decision-making.
  • All partners are stakeholders but not all stakeholders are partners. As model forests are relatively large areas, it is necessary to begin the process of partnership building with a core number of stakeholders interested in becoming partners, and draw in new partners as the benefits of the model forest approach are demonstrated. Partners who consider that they are not benefiting from the model forest process may decide to stop being partners.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Region