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Forest-Smart Programs

Forest-smart is a development approach that recognizes forests’ significance for sustaining growth across many sectors, including agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and water. It transforms how sectors operate by identifying opportunities for mutual benefit and creating practical solutions that can be implemented at scale. Working across sectors and with a variety of partners is fundamental to the forest-smart approach as such collaboration generates new understanding and innovation about how forests contribute to other sectors for better development outcomes.

PROFOR’s forest-smart programs are translating the forest-smart approach into action on the ground for improved food security, job creation, resilience, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Led by experts from sectors that historically have had adverse impacts on forests, the programs are changing mindsets and practices by demonstrating how forests can be a viable and desirable component of investments in those sectors. The programs fill analytical gaps, develop tools for integrating forests into sectoral operations, and provide evidence of what’s possible.


Disaster Risk Management


Forests have an important role to play in helping communities manage risks from natural disasters, address the impacts of climate change, and build sustainable resilience in vulnerable developing countries. PROFOR’s program on Harnessing Forests for Nature-Based Solutions to Disaster Risk Management is developing guidelines and case studies on the use of forest-related and ecosystem-based approaches to reduce vulnerabilities and risks from natural disasters. Read the Forest Smart Brief on DRM.




The differences between how, why and where men and women access, use, and manage forests influence the design of policies, institutional arrangements and interventions aimed at supporting sustainable forest landscapes. PROFOR’s program on Catalyzing Gender-Forests Actions is helping ensure that every PROFOR activity has clear, gender-related objectives and actions, leading to projects that are more inclusive and poised to measure improved equity outcomes. Read the Forest Smart Brief on Gender.


Extractive Industries


As extractive industries continue to grow in forest-rich countries, PROFOR’s program on Extractive Industries in Forest Landscapes: Balancing the Trade-offs and Maximizing the Benefits is developing practical tools and policy recommendations for forest-smart strategies that promote growth of the mining sector without destroying the public good value of forests. Read the Forest-Smart Brief on Extractive Industries.



Forests support the rural economies in many countries, providing jobs for populations with few alternative employment options and creating safety nets for the poor. PROFOR’s program on Understanding Forests’ Contribution to Poverty Reduction is consolidating and building knowledge on forest-poverty linkages, improving how we measure households’ dependence on forests, and using innovative dissemination tools to make data more widely accessible. Read the Forest-Smart Brief on Poverty.


Forest Tenure


Securing forest tenure lays the foundation for effective programs across sectors and for sustainable rural development. PROFOR’s Program on Securing Forest Tenure for Rural Development is filling the knowledge gap in accurately identifying the key factors that affect forest tenure security and reflect them when designing future products and interventions. Read the Forest-Smart Brief on Forest Tenure.


Agricultural Commodities


Since agriculture is the leading driver of deforestation, policy makers are seeking to promote forest-smart interventions that avoid or minimize potential adverse impact on forests. PROFOR’s program on Agricultural Value Chain Innovation is building an understanding of how agricultural value chains can play a positive role in tropical forest conservation, as well as tree cover restoration and enhancement. Read the Forest Smart Brief on Agriculture



Effective management of forests is critical to achieving global goals on energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy. PROFOR’s program Mainstreaming Wood and Forests to Help Deliver Energy Access for All seeks to enhance the knowledge of the forest-energy nexus, and fosters solutions to strengthen the upstream integration of forest issues into energy planning and investments to enhance renewable energy readiness of countries and investors. Read the Forest Smart Brief on Energy.




Good governance in the forest sector is an essential requirement for sustainable forest management. PROFOR’s program on Forest Governance Monitoring and Assessment: A Program of Dissemination, Learning and Implementation has consolidated information base on what comprises good forest governance and how to distinguish good from poor forest governance, as well as provided training to empower countries to embed forest governance in operations to improve their effectiveness and create additional investment opportunities in the sector. Read the Forest Smart Brief on Forest Governance in Forest and Landscape Programs.


Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs)


Small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) are often a vehicle for development, jobs, and poverty alleviation among forest-dependent households, constituting 80–90 percent of enterprises in the forest sector. PROFOR’s program on Unlocking the Potential of Small and Medium Forest Enterprises seeks to create market and policy environments that support forest sector SMEs that contribute to job creation and growth. Read the Forest Smart Brief on Forest Sector Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).




BRIEF ON PROFOR'S FOREST SMART PROGRAMS