Information Management and Forest Governance

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Information technology and management in forest governance -- innovations for improved forestry outcomes

CHALLENGE
Improving forest governance and reducing forest crime requires reforms regarding: legislative framework, public institutions, private sector operations, and civil society participation to name a few. Many countries have already reformed their forest legislation and institutions. It is essential to recognize that in order to actually achieve improved forest outcomes, reforms need to be both planned properly and implemented effectively at all levels.

Modern information technology, including remote sensing and field level applications, can help in this regard. Such technology has proven valuable in many fields in promoting good, transparent and equitable governance, and is also required to ensure sustained implementation of reforms. Some countries have introduced systems, for example, to better track log sales and timber flows, use remote sensing technologies to track encroachment, and engage with local communities with mobile applications. In many cases, the role of information and communications technology (ICTs) in the forest sector has been limited to providing information on ‘how much forest is there’ and how to manage the resource.
However, information management is not only about new technologies. Efficient dissemination of forest-related information can also be done through more traditional media if properly planned. Whatever the technology chosen, improving information management is an essential part of forest governance reforms.

APPROACH

To address these challenges, the World Bank’s Forests Team, supported by PROFOR, prepared a study on information technology and management in forest governance, building on the framework developed in Building Blocks for Good Forest Outcomes: An Analytical Framework for Governance Reforms (2009).

The project’s objectives are to: identify and apply ICT applications to improve forest governance in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and Moldova; and strengthen ICT development capacity in the