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Where partnerships can fail:

  • History of unresolved conflict among key interest groups.
  • Lack of clear purpose.
  • Unrealistic goals or deadlines.
  • Key interest groups refuse to participate.
  • Not all participants stand to benefit from the partnership.
  • Partnership is not equitable - some groups have disproportionate power over others.
  • Partnership is not needed because one or more groups can achieve goals on their own.
  • Financial and time commitments outweigh potential benefits of partnership.
  • There is a basic value conflict, and room for negotiation does not exist (and cannot be created).

Where model forests have worked:

  • Solid support by key stakeholders.
  • Meaningful, functional participation among partners.
  • Agreed upon strategy and programme of activity.
  • Reflecting the priorities of stakeholders within the context of SFM.
  • Proof of benefit and success.
  • Satisfaction and recognition of partners.
  • Allowing the process the necessary time to succeed.



Where model forests have struggled:

  • Excessive expectations or demands.
  • “Dictatorship of the research scientists” (monopolisation by one stakeholder group).
  • Partnership and participation without strategy - input without direction.
  • Poor site selection.
  • Top-down approach.
  • Building the model forest without stakeholders.
  • Insufficient core support from national level.

Model Foreste in Asia

  • In China, the Lin’an Forestry Bureau, Zhejiang Forestry College and Chinese Academy of Forestry initiated development of the Lin’an Model Forest in 1997, with assistance from the International Model Forest Network Secretariat and Canadian Civil Society Program, reinforced by support from the FAO/Japan Regional Model Forest Project, IMFNS and USDA Forest Service from Feb. 2000 to Feb. 2003, and the current FAO/IMFNS “Bridging Initiative”. coldplay tickets
  • In Myanmar, the Forest Department initiated development of the Paukkhaung Model Forest in 1999, with assistance from the Japan International Forestry Promotion and Cooperation Centre (JIFPRO), reinforced by support from the FAO/Japan Regional Model Forest Project from Feb. 2000 to Feb. 2003. A second model forest site has been proposed at KyawPadaung in the Dry Zone of the country.
  • In the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources initiated development of the Ulot Watershed Model Forest in 2000 with support from the FAO/Japan Regional Model Forest Project, IMFNS and USDA Forest Service, reinforced by the FAO/IMFNS “Bridging Initiative”.
  • In Thailand, the Royal Forest Department initiated development of the Ngao Model Forest in 2000 with support from FAO/Japan Regional Model Forest Project, IMFNS, International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and USDA Forest Service, reinforced by the FAO/IMFNS “Bridging Initiative”.
  • In Indonesia, the Ministry of Forestry and Inhutani I initiated development of the Labanan Model Forest in East Kalimantan in 1999 with support from the EU-funded Berau Forest Management Project (which terminated in May 2003) and IMFNS. There is also interest to develop model forests at Margowitan in East Java, and at Malinau Research Forest (with CIFOR), East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
  • In Vietnam, the Forestry University of Vietnam, Ministry of Agroculture and Rural Development, initiated development of the Kim Boi/Luong Son Model Forest in Hoa Binh Province in 1999 with support from JIFPRO.

Other Model Forest Initiatives

The International Model Forest Network (IMFN) was announced by Canada at the Rio (UNCED) conference in 1992. The idea was to take a novel partnership-based approach to SFM, then being pioneered in Canada, and work with interested countries and institutions outside of Canada to test its broader application and effectiveness. Model forests involve complex relationships between people, communities, industries, governments, donors and other groups. Someone has to plant the initial seed, to inform and assist the various stakeholders, to play honest-broker, and to support the initial interactions among the potential partners. That’s the rationale behind the IMFN. 

Since the first international model forests were established in Mexico and Russia nearly 10 years ago, the International Network has grown to include more than 20 sites either in existence or under development in about 15 countries around the world, in addition to the 11 model forests successfully operating in Canada. Another eight countries are actively exploring the concept. The IMFN continues to demonstrate and share successes in finding innovative, low-cost, long-term solutions to the challenges facing SFM advocates and practitioners. Already, model forests cover nearly 28 million hectares. That’s an area larger than the United Kingdom using the model forest approach to find working solutions to sustainable forest management!


The Regional Model Forest Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean (RMFC-LAC) was launched in 2002, integrating programmes in Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic and the International Network from a base at UNDP in Santiago, Chile. Its main purpose is to support and expand Latin American model forests through their national programmes; and, to support networking and take advantage of comparative strengths to accelerate introduction of best practices to SFM.

Given equally strong growth in the number of model forests in Asia, work is also now well-advanced to establish a regional center there. In the medium-term, model forest development is also proposed for Africa where several inroads have been made. If additional funding can be secured, opportunities clearly exist to support the expansion of the Network to other developing countries and regions. A number of international donor agencies (Japan, GEF, and the European Union) and international organisations and NGOs (UNDP, FAO, CIFOR and WWF) are currently providing support to a range of IMFN activities at the site and regional levels.

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