The Forest Policy, Trade, and Finance (FPTF) initiative aims to promote policies which harness the power of market incentives for the legal and sustainable trade in timber and other commodities harvested from forest landscapes.
FPTF combines research, mentorship, and convening “communities of practice” to address issues at the intersection of natural resource governance, markets and trade, law enforcement, resource rights, and green growth. Since its creation in the early 2000s, FPTF has gained the trust of high-level government decision-makers in key timber-producer and -consumer countries by producing timely data analysis with key insights on relevance for markets, livelihoods, and policy impact. Much of the research is developed in close collaboration with local civil society organizations, researchers, and other stakeholders.
Forest Governance and Legality
- Commodity Chain AnalysisFPTF produces timely analysis of timber and agricultural commodity market dynamics and trade flows, utilizing data from both primary (e.g., field research, customs agencies) and secondary sources, and focusing on trade flows that are at high risk of illegality. Engaging national stakeholders has proven essential in obtaining buy-in to our research results that can ultimately influence policy. Through this work, FPTF has been credited with helping open a dialogue with the Government of China on illegal logging, influencing the development of both FLEGT and REDD+ in Vietnam and Laos, and assisting governments, NGOs, and the private sector to understand risks in global timber supply chains.
- Combating Illegal Logging and DeforestationFPTF has demonstrated the degree to which timber and agricultural commodities on global markets are sourced from illegally deforested land, a finding that now underpins key multilateral and bilateral strategies for addressing deforestation. The vast majority of corporate commitments to reducing deforestation have centered around a few commodities in a handful of countries – Indonesia and Brazil chief among them. While targeting these countries is critical, doing so misses regions such as the Mekong; less-traded commodities such as rubber, sugar, and rice; In Southeast Asia’s Mekong region, we have used this work to bridge policy processes focused on legality and climate change mitigation, advocating for a combination of sound regulation and good governance as an essential foundation to reforms in the natural resource sectors.Read our reports on illegal deforestation:
Illicit Harvest, Complicit Goods: The State of Illegal Deforestation for Agriculture (2021)
Tackling Deforestation and Trade in Forest-Risk Commodities: Consumer country measures and the “legality approach” (2019)
Getting the “Bads” Out of Goods: Evolution from voluntary to regulated approaches in reducing the undesirable impacts of global trade (2018)
Economic impacts of illegal agro-conversion in tropical forested countries (2018)
Consumer Goods and Deforestation (2014)
Indonesia’s timber supply gap (2015)
Ending Global Deforestation: Policy Options for Consumer Countries (2013)
Potential Legality Issues from Forest Conversion Timber (2013)
Identifying Illegality in Timber from Forest Conversion: A Review of Legality Definitions (2013)
- Transparency and Anti-Corruption MeasuresForthcoming.
- Forest, Conflict, and PeacebuildingImproved programs for forest governance can strengthen peace and security as much as they can mitigate climate change, improve environmental management, and support local communities. But to be effective, these programs must address challenges unique to countries attempting to recover from conflict. We aim to build the capacity of civil society, ethnic organizations, and government actors to ensure that peace processes create real and lasting sustainable development, while respecting local rights and reducing the likelihood of future conflict. Forest Trends has prepared a set of briefings to examine ways that countries can improve the governance of their forests during periods of transition, e.g., following the cessation of conflict and/or military dictatorship. The six briefings deal with lessons learned related to:
- Decentralization of political, administrative, and economic power to regional authorities, especially under federalist systems, with a particular focus on the impact on natural resource management;
- Revenue sharing systems to address inequity in the distribution of costs and benefits from the exploitation of natural resources;
- Integrity mechanisms that increase the ability to hold authorities accountable; one of the briefings deals specifically with anti-corruption commissions;
- Moratoria on logging and the allocation of new concessions that can be used to push forward forest-sector reforms during periods of transition; and
- Climate change initiatives that can both help reduce the likelihood of conflict and reinforce the peace-building process.
The briefings also provide a case study of decentralization in Indonesia, a resource-dependent country that has emerged from decades-long military dictatorship and that is populated by ethnic minorities who lay claim—albeit often unrecognized by government—to many of the resource-rich areas. The case study compares post-transition decentralization enjoyed by local district governments to the “Special Autonomy” provisions for Aceh Province. Aceh’s special autonomy, which increased local control over natural resources and resource revenues, was a condition of the 2005 Peace Agreement that ended Aceh’s secessionist civil war.
- Decentralization and the Governance of Natural Resources: The Necessity of Checks & Balances [DRAFT]
- Federalism and Forest Management [DRAFT]
- Anti-Corruption Commissions as a Tool for Good Governance [DRAFT]
- Improving Forest Management Practices in Myanmar [DRAFT]
- Experience in Revenue Sharing from High Value Resources [DRAFT]
- “Quasi-Federalism” in Indonesia [DRAFT]
- Mention of Natural Resources In Ceasefire & Peace Agreements [DRAFT]
- REDD+ & Post-Conflict: A briefing for the Oslo REDD-Exchange [DRAFT]
- Timber Regulation Enforcement Exchange (TREE)Since 2012, Forest Trends has been working with Government officials to further understanding of complex high-risk supply chains for wood products and support coordinated implementation of the EU Timber Regulation, US Lacey Act, Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act and, most recently, the Canadian Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). The process is known as the Timber Regulation Enforcement Exchange (TREE), an ongoing series of networking and information-sharing meetings which brings the growing group of officials together every six months. The TREE process aims to support robust and consistent enforcement of demand-side timber regulations by providing a forum for officials to gain detailed insight into high- and low-risk timber flows entering their countries, discuss practical enforcement issues with each other and relevant experts from the forest sector and other relevant product/environmental sectors, establish emergent norms for Due Diligence/care in relation to different forest products, and build relationships with producer country governments, industry representatives, and other stakeholders involved in combating illegal logging and promoting global markets for legal timber.
- Newsletter – Spring 2016 [English] [Español] [Français] [中文]
- Newsletter – Fall 2016 [English] [Français] [中文]
Below is a list of all previous meetings organized by Forest Trends and/or Chatham House as part of the TREE process. Agendas, slides, and meeting notes can be found at the links provided.
- January 17, 2013 – Preparing for EUTR Implementation: Workshop One
- February 20 2013 – Preparing for EUTR Implementation: Workshop Two
- May 20-25 2013 – Learning from the Implementation of the US Lacey Act
Forest Trends supported five EUTR Competent Authorities to visit Washington D.C. for closed, informal meetings and training sessions with US Lacey enforcement agencies.
- October 22, 2013 – EUTR and the Imported Furniture Sector
- December 12, 2013 – EUTR and CITES
- February 17-21, 2014 –Study Tour for US Lacey, EUTR, and Australian ILPA officials
Enforcement officials visited a port in Rotterdam, had meetings at the Thunen Institute of Forest Genetics and Wood Research in Hamburg, and participated in an EC FLEGT meeting in Brussels.
- March 19-20, 2014 – The Pulp and Paper Sector [also see this link]
- July 14, 2014 – EUTR and Inter-State Communications
- October 28-30 – Substantiated Concerns, Producer Country Cooperation, and Cameroon Supply Chains [also see this link]
- April 14-16, 2015 – Chinese Supply Chains, Risk, and Legal Compliance
- September 15-18, 2015 – Production and Trade in Eastern Europe; Furniture Sector; Updates from Brazil and Australia
- April 5-8, 2016 – Regional focus on timber supply chains from: Eastern Europe & the Balkans; Cameroon; Peru
- October 24-27, 2016 – Paris, France
- April 5-7, 2017 – Rome, Italy
- October 23-25, 2017 – Valencia, Spain
Forest Trends created its REDDX initiative to provide information that helps governments and other REDD+ stakeholders gain a better understanding of the financial flows associated with REDD+ and to assess this financing’s gaps and needs against national REDD+ strategies.
Up until 2015, over US$7.3 billion had been pledged to support REDD+ “readiness” through capacity building on the ground in tropical forest countries. Despite such high levels of multilateral and bilateral financial commitments, information remains limited on how much of this money is actually flowing to countries at the national level, which types of REDD+ activities are being supported, and which organizations are managing and implementing these activities.
From 2009 to 2014, the REDDX Initiative tracked REDD+ finance in 13 countries to determine:
- Commitments and disbursements of REDD+ finance;
- Timelines between when funds are committed and disbursed;
- The types of organizations receiving and implementing the REDD+ activities (e.g., government, NGOs, large international consulting firms and consultants, or community organizations);
- Types of activities supported by the current financial commitments, such as improved forest and land management, carbon offsets, stakeholder engagement etc.