Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos

Community-based forest management is widely recognized as one of the more effective measures for stopping deforestation, while also supporting the livelihoods of local communities. However, the effectiveness of community management is dependent upon the broader socio-economic context, including tenure type, community governance, local capacity, opportunity cost and incentives.

In the Lower Mekong region, communities are playing an increasingly important role in forest management. In 2006, WWF began working with villagers in the Khamkeut District of Bolikhamxay Province, Laos, providing them technical support on forest and natural resource management according to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards, and helping strengthen forest-based livelihoods through rattan handicrafts making, so that villagers could improve their standard of living without depleting their forest resources.  

After nearly 20 years of implementation, an evaluation of the project’s effects on forest cover change shows that the project areas had a 13.2% lower rate of forest loss compared to other areas. Interviews with local stakeholders reveals that with the right incentives, community members are willing to forego conversion of forests for other land uses that offer higher short-term benefits.

This case study examines the impact of community forestry in Laos and its effect on deforestation. Download the full case study via the link to the right.

This case study is part of our deep-dive into responses to address deforestation, highlighted in WWF's report, Deforestation fronts: Drivers and responses in a changing world.

case studies