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Assessing Impacts of Forest Governance Interventions


The World Bank’s 2002 Forest Strategy laid down two bold targets, which it saw as the collective outcome of global efforts to promote Sustainable Forest Management, through improving forest governance. First, by 2012/13, a reduction of global illegal logging by 50 percent (from an estimated baseline value of $10 billion per annum); and, second, a 50 percent decrease in the estimated value of taxes, fees, and levies willfully evaded. However, there has been little systematic effort to assess the extent to which these targets have been achieved. This is a drawback (applicable not only to the World Bank but to other development agencies as well) as it limits our ability to learn from evidence and to apply the learning in designing effective interventions.


By looking at a suite of the Bank’s forestry programs and projects (which have significant forest governance components), this report identifies the bottlenecks to improve tracking the impacts of forest governance interventions and suggests ways in which they can be removed and the capacity for impact evaluation (IE) strengthened.


The report finds that most Bank-financed projects track impacts in forest governance projects almost exclusively through log-frame approaches such as a Results Framework or a Policy Matrix. These have been used to measure progress toward project objectives through the use of performance indicators, coupled with baseline surveys and proposed target values. However, the ex-ante approaches to monitoring and evaluation in Bank projects typically do not try to establish attribution, nor do they systematically track spill-over effects (positive or negative) and leakages resulting from project interventions. They also do not consider the role of ‚Äúconfounding factors‚ÄĚ that is, non-project influences, which can influence expected project outcomes. Finally, in most cases impacts are not monitored beyond the life-cycle of the project. Because of these shortcomings, the Policy Matrix or Results Framework approaches do not fully measure the impacts of Bank interventions.

The current gaps in being able to measure impacts systematically should not be taken to mean that Bank-financed interventions have not had any impacts. However, the need is to develop a culture of measurement whereby impacts are objectively and routinely measured and the learning potential through IE maximized. To this end the report recommends three broad actions:

  • Develop a compendium of practical techniques for IE in forestry and raise awareness among project task team leaders. This would demonstrate the value of starting with causal pathways linking the intended outcomes to the necessary inputs and outputs;
  • Enhance resources and improve opportunities to embed IE in project design and implementation. The Bank should consider ‚Äúup-streaming‚ÄĚ a discussion of tracking project impacts at the Project Concept Note stage; and,
  • Establish a community of practice (CoP) and a help-desk on IE for forestry. Establishing a CoP within and outside the Bank can increase member knowledge by sharing information and experiences to allow for an effective exchange of learning.

Because poverty reduction, improvements in the security of livelihoods, conservation of wildlife and biodiversity, and cross-sectoral collaboration, to name some objectives, go hand-in-hand with interventions to improve forest governance, this report recommends that evaluation approaches should track all activity impacts. Thus, the three actions suggested above should consider tracking impacts more widely than for forest governance alone.

The report acknowledges the main limitations of the analysis. The experiences and the data are all from one institution‚ÄĒthe World Bank‚ÄĒand (including as it does, twenty programs and projects) are limited in coverage. Thus, caution has to be exercised in any attempt to draw out general lessons. Nevertheless, this report provides a useful first cut contribution to the challenge of assessing the impacts of forest governance interventions and of assessing impacts more generally. Future work should emphasize collaborative exploration (among development partners assisting with sustainable forest management and key client countries) as a way to build up the evidence base on cost-effective and easy to replicate impact evaluation techniques and to rapidly build up a compendium of practical approaches.

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Author : World Bank [1] [1]
Last Updated : 12-18-2017


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Business Climate for Forest Investments: A Survey

The World Bank Group has been successful in reporting on the business and investment climate in developing countries through its Doing Business rankings which look at regulatory systems at the country and sub-national level. PROFOR and other partners have also devoted time and energy in trying to mobilize greater participation of businesses in meeting forest sector economic, social and environmental goals. A conducive investment and business climate would seem to be an essential element in this effort and would help increase the forest sector's contribution to "green growth".

However the regulatory requirements faced by large multinational and small local businesses vary widely; implementation of regulation is often inadequate; and investments in the forest sector may be driven by other factors such as adequate information on the resource base (inventories, land use maps, etc) and whether that resource is accessible (infrastructure, land rights, etc).

PROFOR created and tested a practical tool (methodology) for systematically assessing how administrative and regulatory requirements impact the business climate for investment in wood products and the forest sector more broadly. To develop the tool, PROFOR established a forest investor typology that reflects the needs of both domestic and international strategic investors and small and medium forest enterprises, and reviewed existing investment climate studies and tools and their applicability for forest sector investors.The applicable tools were then tested in Lao PDR and Tanzania to assess demand for such tool tailored to the forest sector, identify gaps in measuring forest investment climate, and understand the value add of a new instrument.

The publication Business Climate for Forest Investments: A Survey provides an overview of a diversity of tools to assess investment climate, their applicability in the forest sector and main gaps, and offers a menu of options for further development to improve methodologies and investment climate for sustainable forest management and wood processing.

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Author : PROFOR
Last Updated : 02-24-2017


Inside Liberia`s forest sector

68% of Liberia‚Äôs land surface is covered by forests, making it the most forested country in West Africa; and the forests have a high biodiversity and commercial value. Liberia‚Äôs forest sector contributes 10% to the national economy and serves as an important source of livelihoods and employment for more than a third of Liberia‚Äôs population that lives in forested areas. 
Despite these important contributions, Liberia`s forests are under threat and need to be better managed; net forest depletion increased from 0.5% in 2005 to 32% in 2015 and the deforestation rate is estimated at 0.46% per year. Improving governance is key to addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and ensuring overall sustainable forest management. This is especially true in Liberia, where the strategic plan for the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), which plays a pivotal role in managing Liberia‚Äôs forest resources, prioritizes institutional strengthening for achieving its vision of ‚Äúsustainable forestry for sustainable development.‚ÄĚ  
The Program on Forests (PROFOR) conducted an institutional capacity assessment survey of the FDA to generate granular level data on the inner workings of the agency in order to position Liberia`s forest sector as an engine for economic growth. 438 FDA employees, or approximately 82% of the staff were interviewed on their experiences and perceptions on the FDA`s operations including human resource management.
The survey allowed for a systematic look at the work practices, management approaches, staff motivations, leadership, and work environment to highlight specific weaknesses that constrain the FDA’s effective functioning.
The findings were published in a new report, ‚ÄúLiberia Forestry Development Authority: An Institutional Capacity Assessment‚ÄĚ. They show serious deficiencies in management practices, access to facilities, compensation, and other human resource management factors that impact attitudes and behaviors on productivity.  The survey found that FDA staff have weaker educational qualifications compared to other government institutions, lack adequate access to in-service training, report high levels of rent-seeking in the organization and express widely varying motivation levels - with 69% of staff reporting lower motivation levels compared with when they joined the FDA. However, the staff also associate better management with safer and more trustworthy work environments and value community engagement that reinforces the importance of the FDA‚Äôs customer service charter. 
The report identifies four key reform interventions that, when supported by this strong foundation of better data and more regular monitoring and evaluation, will help strengthen FDA‚Äôs institutional capacity. These interventions include: improving skills through merit-based recruitment and competency-based training; stronger management practices - in particular, performance assessments; targeting and monitoring; more equitable pay; and greater community engagement. 
‚ÄúThe FDA plays a pivotal role in Liberia`s sustainable forest management but faces serious operational challenges especially in human resource management. Improving governance of the forest sector presents significant challenges and requires continuous efforts and long-term engagement. This survey identifies the most necessary interventions and provides a baseline measure of civil service productivity in FDA against which progress can be measured as these interventions get implemented.‚ÄĚ Zahid Hasnain, Senior Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank explained. 
This Liberia case study was a test of a new forest governance assessment diagnostic tool, which forest management institutions in other countries can use to generate data and insights on how to improve management of their forest sectors. Administrative data and regular staff surveys provide a key set of indicators on public employment and management that can be used to assess progress toward institutional strengthening. Improving forest sector governance has the potential to significantly increase the forest sector contribution to national development, employment and livelihoods. 
Prepared by Charlotte Ampaire

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Last Updated : 06-26-2020

Land tenure for forest peoples, part of the solution for sustainable development

By Gerardo Segura Warnholtz. Originally published by the World Bank.

In Science magazine, earlier this year, researchers revealed that ancient forest peoples of the Amazon helped create much of the imposing forest landscape that the world inherits today.

A growing body of evidence shows that the indigenous peoples and other rural communities who now inhabit these ancestral Amazonian "gardens" continue to be vital to their survival. 

Today, as never before, cutting-edge tools and technologies allow ranchers to raise cattle and plant oil palm and soy in poor soils, and investors to build dams and roadways in some of the planet‚Äôs most remote forests, opening them to exploration and exploitation. 

Like other rural peoples in the forests of Central America, Africa and Southeast Asia, many of the indigenous communities of the Amazon are battling for a way of life that depends on keeping the forests standing. But recent evidence suggests that to successfully resist, or merely influence, the impact of powerful economic forces, indigenous and other forest peoples need rights to their lands that are strong and respected, and investments to support their efforts to manage the lands sustainably. 

These rights confer benefits, many of which will be discussed at the Conference on Community Land and Resource Rights in Stockholm next week, such as improvements in health and education levels, two key goals of sustainable development, and progress in stopping the destruction of rainforests, which governments, donors and investors have promised to do in committing to slow climate change. 

In Stockholm, I‚Äôll share findings from a recent study on ‚ÄúSecuring Forest Tenure Rights for Rural Development,‚ÄĚ which aims to improve understanding of what it takes to advance forest tenure reforms. The study identifies Latin America as far advanced in recognizing local or customary tenure rights. As of 2013, for example, ‚Äúapproximately 39% of the region‚Äôs forestlands were owned or controlled by indigenous peoples and local communities.‚ÄĚ The record has made the region a model for those advocating for recognition and enforcement of customary land tenure in Indonesia and the forest nations of sub-Saharan Africa.

Yet the research also revealed that, cumbersome regulations, limited institutional capacity, and powerful competing interests continue to block the realization of legitimate customary rights, contributing to insecurity, conflicts, and displacement among some of the world‚Äôs poorest rural inhabitants.

Some of the challenges identified in the study include: clashes between government agencies; overlapping land claims that haunt the titling process; and bureaucratic obstacles that continue to prevent indigenous communities from taking part in decisions about the fate of their lands.

The study concludes, however, that laws alone are not enough to ensure recognition and respect for rights; and it notes that in some countries, a lack of political will seems to be a factor, despite evidence that governments struggle to control illegal deforestation, while investors have become increasingly wary of the high costs of conflict.

A risk analysis released last year by the Rights and Resources Initiative, featuring cases from Africa, Asia and Latin America, revealed a significant link between weak land tenure and financial risk for those investing in extractives and the production of commodities. In more than 60 percent of the cases studied, the authors identified failure to respect customary land rights of minorities and Indigenous Peoples as the primary cause of the dispute; in the forestry sector, this rose to 90 percent. The authors concluded that the local communities are, ‚Äúprincipally interested in opportunities to continue traditional livelihoods,‚ÄĚ but this does not mean they lack economic value.

Another study by the World Resources Institute (WRI) suggests that granting secure tenure to indigenous peoples and other rural communities‚ÄĒjust in Latin America‚ÄĒcould generate billions of dollars over the next 20 years, based on evidence of their ability to protect forests that are among the most carbon-rich in the world.

Some leaders may fear that granting rights to indigenous peoples and rural communities could damage their countries‚Äô economies. Given the chance to address them directly, we would say that, ‚Äúrather than damaging your economies, you will instead be pioneers on the edge of a new frontier; your countries will become magnets for investors seeking to serve a growing market for conflict-free, deforestation-free commodities. And that you will become known for choosing the path of sustainable development, in partnership with your own people, many of them with roots in the ancient forests that are so vital to the survival of the planet.‚ÄĚ

So, it is time to urge decision makers across the world to embrace land rights for their economic benefits; to recognize that strengthening land tenure can support the goals of economic development, while addressing the risks of investing in regions where land rights are weak.

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Last Updated : 01-11-2018

Improving social inclusion in debate on REDD+ benefit-sharing in Brazil


To control and reduce deforestation in the Amazon, the Brazilian government created the National REDD+ Strategy (NRS), which has provided a framework to compensate entities protecting the Amazon along a jurisdictional scale (states). In 2015, to support the coordination and implementation of the NRS, the Brazilian Government established the National Commission for Reducing Emissions of Greenhouse Gases from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Conservation of Forest Carbon Stocks, Sustainable Management of Forests and Increase in Carbon Stocks Forestry - REDD + (CONAREDD). Representing federal, state and municipal governments as well as local and civil society organizations, CONAREDD has worked to advance dialogue and cooperation amongst the various stakeholders and members. However, certain representatives of society, including indigenous people, smallholders, and traditional communities are still not fully included in the REDD+ debates. The process of how and to whom the benefits of Brazil’s NRS can be offered and allocated amongst the stakeholders of the Amazon forest states remains largely undetermined and un-informed.

Therefore, there is the need for a healthy debate about the alternatives for benefit-sharing mechanisms for REDD+ that reflects the interests of different social groups in the Amazon. PROFOR’s program seeks to engage with leaders of the Amazon and representatives of the states and federal governments to debate and devise options on benefit sharing that could support the NRS and the REDD+ initiatives of regional states.


PROFOR‚Äôs program will work closely with identified local organizations such as the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), a Brazilian NGO that will be leading many of the activities, to conduct the following:   

  • Report on the current benefit-sharing mechanisms being used or proposed in Brazil;
  • Apply PROFOR‚Äôs Options Assessment Framework with stakeholders during a series of workshops to obtain recommendation on the benefit-sharing mechanism to be applied to Brazil‚Äôs context;
  • Develop an interim report based on stakeholder¬īs opinions derived from the Framework results;
  • Conduct a final workshop to discuss the benefit-sharing mechanisms identified;
  • Draw a best practice guide to implement the mechanisms identified during the workshops.


The Options Assessment Framework methodology proposed by PROFOR has the main goal to provide an evaluation of the context on capacities to implement REDD+ benefit sharing mechanisms. Many key points that need to be addressed by managers and donors in order to reach an efficient benefit sharing. Capacity building, for example, was a transversal necessity discussed by all the sectors interviewed. A common point is that stakeholders, in general, need more capacity building strengthening related to REDD+ concept and implementation in order to be included in the discussions.  Below, some important aspects detected:  
 For the institutional capacities:  
  • The workshops participants  claimed a higher participation of the private sector in the REDD+ process,  as a way to reach more robust mechanisms, not only as direct beneficiaries of carbon sequestration but as protagonists in the management of financial mechanisms that can enable a cost-effective forest-based economy. The argument is that the governmental machine has many bureaucracy, lack of agility and lack of transparence that commits the implementation of REDD+.   
  • Both national and subnational governments need to establish a closer dialogue with local actors, despite the dimensions, access difficulties and multiculturalism characteristic of the Amazon. This dialogue is key to improve their understanding of REDD+ and increase their participation in the whole process.  
  • Communities, although they are the protagonists of the process, have a marginal involvement so far. A heavy and intense process of leadership strengthening, and capacity building is one of the key measures that needs to be improved. 
  • The role of NGOs is fundamental in REDD+ initiatives. However, it is not their role to fulfill the obligations of the governments. Besides, NGOs need more resources to increase their capillarity and support more communities.  
  • The public sector should incorporate the variables of private management in the management of funds. Funds should be managed by the private sector, NGOs or both together.  
For the legal framework: 
  • The states developed their REDD+ strategies and policies before the federal government. Therefore, a harmonized approach  between Federal and State polices will be necessary. Such approach include‚ÄĮmutual recognition, equivalency,‚ÄĮand‚ÄĮreference standards 
  • The consultations that are made to communities may not be valid since they can reflect better on their consent.     
For the monitoring capacities:  
  • In a transition to incentive policies for the conservation of forests, the command and control approaches continue to be essential in the routines of environmental agencies. 
  • Setting up a quality center for intelligence gathering and spatial monitoring is a critical, yet resource intensive task, requiring appropriate equipment and specialized human resources. Only through robust investments can states be able to monitor and deter illicit actions in a timely manner. 
  • The technology does not replace the human capacity to read the images, especially in natural features that are confused with deforestation and degradation. There is a lack of human resources able to do this job, as well as to exercise command and control actions, once the situations in which they should intervene have been detected. 
  • There is a major bottleneck in measures to detect and measure environmental degradation in relation to deforestation that needs to be observed. 
The challenge now is to think about ways to implement the enabling actions proposed. The national and subnational jurisdictions analyzed should be aware of its fragilities and invest time and resources in improving those capacities. The national and subnational levels analyzed are in different stages of implementation of REDD+ initiatives and need to be closely monitored for benefit sharing mechanisms to be implemented.  
Despite the great efforts being made at the federal level to structure a robust national REDD+ mechanism, much still needs to be done to reach a level that ensures a high level of institutional capacity. There is the necessity to make the government more efficient and less bureaucratic as a way to attract more investments. Also, the local / state governments capacity needs to be strengthened substantially to enable officials to be physically present and work effectively on forest policy and decision-making with community groups and the private sector actors. Communities’ capacities to support, monitor, and report local-level REDD+ programs and related activities are considered very insufficient in all jurisdictions (Federal, Acre, Mato Grosso and Amazonas).
Ironically, the most important stakeholders are the ones with the highest level of difficulties to access resources, to actively participate in REDD+ discussions and have a good comprehension of all the mechanisms involved. The private sector is not very prominent in the sites analyzed but there are some isolated initiatives of private groups. At the national level, Brazil has made much progress in transparency in environmental governance. The Federal Government has developed cutting-edge technological tools to monitor forest cover. The Amazon Deforestation Estimate Program (PRODES) is the national official database that promotes transparency and provides data accessible to the whole society.
However, it does not have a perfect capillarity for on the ground performance in a country with dimensions such as Brazil. Even with a good support of Federal funds for management building block, some challenges need to be overcome in its key components. An issue that needs more attention is the list of eligibility criteria imposed by funding agencies to access resources. Although the calls for proposals are open, normally communities are not well organized and prepared to apply to these calls. A recent issue is related to the future changes in policy or governance that may create discontinuity of the already established REDD+ policies and, consequently, undermine the progress already reached. 

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Last Updated : 06-09-2020

Forest Governance Monitoring and Assessment: A Program of Dissemination, Learning and Implementation


Key features of good governance include adherence to the rule of law, transparency, inputs of all stakeholders in decision-making, accountability of all officials, low regulatory burden, and political stability. While it is widely agreed that good governance in the forest sector is an essential requirement for sustainable forest management, there is much less agreement on what comprises good forest governance and how to distinguish good from poor forest governance. Nevertheless, recent years have seen careful research and serious thinking on these issues, which has moved the international community of practice to a point of relatively robust agreement regarding the scope of what constitutes good forest governance and how to measure the quality of forest governance in a specific setting. However, the challenge that the international community faces is that the knowledge on the what of forest governance has not been widely and effectively disseminated, nor has the how of forest governance been piloted and implemented as extensively as the expected benefits to such application would merit. Without such a consolidated information base, countries are hampered in their ability to undertake steps to apply good governance and assessments to achieving sustainable forest management (SFM). This activity seeks to address these shortcoming.


The activities included in this program are organized under two pillars:

(i) Dissemination, knowledge sharing and skills enhancement:

  • Translation of the 2014 publication of Assessing Forest Governance: A Practical Guide to Data Collection, Analysis, and Use, also called the ‚ÄúAssessment Guide,‚ÄĚ into Spanish and French. This Assessment Guide will provide the foundation in which to develop the other listed products.
  • Webinars
  • E-learning course
  • Bite-sized learning products (blogs, podcasts)
  • Outreach (e.g. international conferences)

(ii) Initiating and improving action in countries: The team will support advanced country-specific training and implementation of measurement approaches that empower countries to embed forest governance in operations, improving their effectiveness and creating additional investment opportunities in the sector. 


This activity has been completed. Results include the following:

Pillar I Activities: Dissemination, Knowledge-Sharing, and Skills-Enhancement

1. Assessment Guide in Spanish available in print and e-format.

2. Three webinars were delivered between Jan-March 2015 (with the support of the Leadership, Learning and Innovation (LLI) group of the World Bank) and can be downloaded at the following links:
- An Introduction to the What, Why and How of Forest Governance Assessment
- Doing a Forest Governance Assessment‚ÄĒPractical Tips and Tricks
- Using a Forest Governance Assessment‚ÄĒFrom Diagnosis to Action

3. Three podcasts were produced (based on the above 3 webinars):

An introduction to the What, Why and How of forest governance assessment

Using a forest governance assessment‚ÄĒFrom diagnosis to action

Doing a forest governance assessment‚ÄĒPractical tips and tricks

4. A facilitated e-learning course on forest governance developed with LLI support. This is a five module course with 4 completed deliveries and a fifth on-going.

5. Presentation of the Assessment Guide at Interlaken+10‚ÄĒGoverning Forest Landscapes, Feb. 6, 2015, Interlaken, Switzerland.

6. A discussion session on forest governance and ways forward at the World Forestry Congress at Durban, in September 2015.

7. FCPF presentation at Steering Committee meeting on Forest Governance, in April, 2016.

8. Assessment Guide in French available in print and e-format.

9. Organized a role playing exercise- Scoring Forest Governance Indicators- for FIP country teams to learn about PROFOR’s forest governance monitoring and assessment tool, at the FIP Pilot Countries Meeting, Oaxaca, Mexico, June 12-14, 2016.

10. Mainstreamed the governance diagnostic tool as a resource in the Forest Landscapes 101 e-learning course.

Pillar II Activities: Initiating and Improving Action in Countries

1. In Congo DRC, the PROFOR supported diagnostic exercise reached out to a non-traditional stakeholder group‚ÄĒthe artisanal loggers in the informal sector. Their opinions were systematically gathered through an interactive process, in four sub-regional workshops. Each workshop included 10-25% women as participants.  The challenges which they face and potential actions to address those, was presented in a report to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. The DRC assessment on forest governance has also informed a World Bank piece of Economic and Sector Work that is taking stock of the DRC‚Äôs forest sector and its governance, and which will guide the Bank‚Äôs future interventions in the sector.

2. In Mozambique, implemented a forest governance diagnostics exercise. The activity customized a forest governance indicator set. It then used this indicator set in two field workshops to systematically gather information from multiple forest sector stakeholders. The findings and emerging implications were channeled into the Forest Investment Program (FIP) project for the country and have significantly shaped the actions geared to improving governance for Mozambique. Equally important, the diagnostic exercise has identified a handful of priority indicators that the government and the FIP project can use for periodic assessments of the status of forest governance.

3. In Congo RDC, supported a preliminary governance assessment. With the support of the government, a preliminary, forest governance assessment was implemented, using PROFOR‚Äôs forest governance diagnostic framework. A long background paper was prepared, based on the assessment. In addition, a short note was prepared for inclusion in the country‚Äôs ASA‚Äôs Umbrella Policy Note.  The work provides a first overview of governance in the sector, a subject into which the Bank has so far paid only limited attention, and forms the basis for future detailed work.

4. In Afghanistan, PROFOR helped the South Asia Environmental Practice Group adapt the PROFOR forest governance diagnostic into an institutional and technical capacity diagnostic. Afghanistan applied the tool in Kabul in May 2017 as part of an ESW, ‚ÄúCapacity Development for Natural Resource Management". The Government enthusiastically embraced the exercise and now wants to conduct assessments at the provincial level throughout the country. This use has demonstrated the versatility of the  FAO‚ÄďPROFOR governance framework to address resource management issues, beyond just forestry. 

Other Activities

1. Undertook a partner-led evaluation (under the KNOWFOR initiative of DFID) of the impacts of the DRC and Mozambique forest governance diagnostic exercises, and the e-learning course.

2. Developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Governance GP that has resulted in a new programmatic activity on governance.

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Last Updated : 05-22-2018

Improving the Forests Database to Support Sustainable Forest Management

At the heart of whether growth in a country is green and sustainable is the issue of accumulation of wealth. It is wealth ‚ÄĒ broadly defined to include manufactured capital, natural capital (including forests), human and social capital‚ÄĒ that underlies the generation of national income. Gross domestic product (GDP) has conventionally been used to assess economic performance, measuring economic growth from one year to the next. But GDP does not take into account depreciation and depletion of wealth, and therefore does not provide an indication of whether growth is sustainable: an economy could appear to be growing in the near term by running down its assets such as its forests. Assessments of economic performance should therefore be based on both measures of annual growth (such as GDP) and measures of the comprehensive wealth of a country, which indicate whether that growth is sustainable in the long term.

For the past 15 years, the World Bank has provided indicators to measure the sustainability of a country‚Äôs growth path, such as Adjusted Net Saving (ANS), adjusted Net National Income (aNNI), and comprehensive wealth estimates.  Underpinning these indicators are data on natural resource rents (from forests, minerals, and energy) which provide policy makers with information on potential revenues from natural capital.

The comprehensive wealth accounts, which have been published for 1995, 2000, and 2005, include estimates for forest wealth which is calculated as the sum of the net present value of rents from timber extraction and annual benefits from non-timber resources, including minor forest products, hunting, recreation, and watershed protection. ANS, which is published annually and covers the period 1970-present, is defined as net national saving adjusted for investments in human capital, depletion of natural resources (including forests), and damages to human health caused by pollution, and provides an estimate of the annual change in wealth.

Recent findings suggest that while wealth data and ANS data are used by researchers and policy analysts, the greatest demand is for data on natural resource rents.  However, while minerals and energy rent data have gained a lot of traction, rent data for forests are not used as frequently. Interviews have revealed concerns with the credibility of the underlying data, such as the FAO data on forest area and growing stock. The authors of the indicators have also concluded that a number of methodological changes could improve estimates for forest wealth, potential forest rents, and net forest depletion.  

This activity hopes to increase the use of improved World Bank forest data (forest rents, net forest depletion, and forest wealth), so that countries and data users are better equipped with credible and more accurate information on the physical area and value of forest resources. Countries should consider not just the flow of revenues from forest resources, but also the sustainable management of the asset (stock of forest resources).

  • Data on the value of forest wealth, its share in total wealth, and how the value is changing over time can help governments assess the contribution of forests to current development outcomes and whether forests are being managed sustainably.
  • Data on potential forest rents when combined with information on actual rent recovery and use of these revenues will allow governments to assess whether contribution of forest resources to sustainable development is being realized and who is benefitting from the revenue.  Such data and assessments can equip policymakers to better manage forest resources, improve forest governance, increase transparency in the rent captured, and ultimately lead to increased reinvestment of forest rents in other forms of capital to grow the total wealth of the country.
  • These policy changes could, in turn, promote the sustainable management of forest resources for poverty reduction and economic growth.


The activity has been successfully completed.

A report is being finalized and will be released soon. The report reviews the latest literature, explores improved data sources, evaluates key parameters and assumptions in the methodology, and outlines the steps and resources required to improve the data and methods.

An implementation plan for updating the forest database that includes a plan for country surveys if the report finds insufficient global data will be finalized in the coming months.

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Author : PROFOR [1], WAVES [2], RFF [3] [1] [2] [3]
Last Updated : 02-24-2017

Institutional Analysis and Landscape Level Planning Guidelines for Watershed Development in India


Improved watershed management will be crucial to meet growing food demand in India, for example by: recharging local aquifers and improving downstream water flows; decreasing soil erosion; increasing agricultural productivity; and helping farmers adapt to climate change. Experts believe that an additional 102 million tons of food grains need to be produced annually by 2020 to meet national nutritional needs under moderate population growth forecasts, 38 million tons of which will need to come from either rainfed lands or imports.

However, rainfed regions have lagged far behind and have experienced severe resource degradation due to inappropriate land use, poor husbandry and low investments. Longer-term climate change adds another worrying dimension. Climate change requires new adaptation measures by farmers, especially small and marginal farmers who are the most vulnerable to these forecast impacts.

The Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP), financed through the Department of Land Resources, currently forms the cornerstone of the Government of India's support to watershed development, covering 27 states and proposing to invest over US$6.6 billion through a 10-year period to 2017. Besides the IWMP, a number of other centrally financed schemes are related to watershed management, agriculture and rural livelihoods, which to varying degrees address development needs in rainfed areas. The IWMP has been slowly rolling out and expanding its reach across India since 2009. But, it has not delivered expected results evenly across the country or to the desired levels. In moving forward to improve the IWMP model and execution, a number of key issues outlined recently by the Planning Commission and various other reports/experts have been identified.

Two key issues are:

              Fragmented programming and partial solutions. Given their ecological characteristics, developing rainfed areas requires a broad watershed approach. Large budgets are now available for IWMP and several other schemes for the development of rainfed areas within the Ministry of Rural Development. However, each of these is conceived and implemented in departmental silos without unified mechanisms for coordination and convergence. As a result, these programs do not lead to area development, potential synergies are lost, and investments, interventions, and results remain sub-optimal.

              Narrow planning scale. The IWMP is executed through clusters of micro-watersheds (each usually 500 ha to 700 ha) covering an average of 5,000 ha. This scale is appropriate for participatory planning and implementation communities. However, a larger landscape assessment/planning framework ranging up to 25,000 ha is also needed where broader land and water issues can be identified, and a more coordinated approach developed to converge government schemes with the IWMP. The current IWMP model also does not fully incorporate surface and groundwater assessments into management and monitoring activities to guide integrated planning at sub-watershed and micro-watershed scales.


This activity aims to address some of the issues above by helping to:

  • Improve intra- and inter-ministerial convergence in watershed management in India;
  • Develop landscape level catchment assessment/planning methods and guidelines for India; and
  • Disseminate knowledge on good practices in watershed management building on a draft report prepared under a previous PROFOR activity.


The activity was successfully completed. The final report ‚ÄúCatchment Assessment and Planning for Watershed Management‚ÄĚ is now available to the left along with a summary report. A launch workshop was held in Washington, D.C., in October 2014. A similar workshop was held in Delhi in December 2014. One article based on this work was published in a national journal in India. In addition, the ‚ÄúOperational Guidelines for Benchmarking Watershed Management Outcomes‚ÄĚ prepared by the Ministry of Rural Development of India and the World Bank discussion paper ‚ÄúWatershed Development in India: An Approach Evolving through Experience‚ÄĚ can be downloaded from this page.

Some key insights and lessons are:

  • Micro-watersheds are the appropriate scale for program implementation with communities, with guidance by larger scale catchment assessments.
  • Decentralized and participatory development is a necessary approach for success.
  • Invest in participatory, evidence-based micro-watershed plans with communities.
  • Invest in capacity building and information sharing to build sustainability and a body of knowledge.
  • Invest in comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to track implementation and support management.


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Author : World Bank
Last Updated : 12-18-2017




Workshop on Sustainable Productive Forest Landscapes in Mexico


The Government of Mexico has recently approved an ambitious Plan (PRONAFOR 2014-2018) with a vision to transform the forest sector into a competitive and socially-inclusive sector that would boost rural economy in Mexico. To achieve its objectives the PRONAFOR is based on a transversal approach, which contemplates the collaboration and coordination of its activities with a number of other government entities, including the Ministry of Agriculture. However, the multiplicity of government actors operating in the rural sector in Mexico under a set of dispersed and fragmented functions makes the necessary inter-sectoral coordination mechanisms difficult to materialize at the operational level, since experience with such mechanisms is scarce. Disseminating information and learning from the experience of successful models that have achieved territorial integration both within Mexico and abroad, will be important in order to promote the landscape approach envisioned by PRONAFOR.


The main objective of this activity is to equip stakeholders with information and good practices for handling challenges and opportunities to implementing a multi-sectoral and inter-institutional landscape approach. This will be done by creating a space for multi-stakeholder dialogue and analysis around the challenges and opportunities for the implementation of PRONAFOR’s landscape approach. In particular, a workshop will be coordinated and focus on the multi-sectoral and inter-institutional coordination mechanisms that are required in order to allow for the implementation of the different sectoral programs in an integrated manner at the territorial level.


The forum, held April 7-8, 2015, in Mexico City, gathered decision makers from the various sector administrations (agriculture, forest, finance) and levels of government (federal, state, local), as well as representatives from the civil society and the private sector. Three international experts were invited to present different experiences related to sustainable productive landscapes and to share successful experiences and knowledge focusing mainly on how different sectors interact in the territory and how different activities may be aligned in order to promote sustainable and integrated rural development. In total, 50 people attended the forum.

The report ‚ÄúModelo de Intervenci√≥n en las √Āreas de Acci√≥n Temprana REDD+‚ÄĚ was distributed by the National Commission on Forests (CONAFOR) in advance of the forum, guided the discussions during the two-day forum.

As a result of the forum, CONAFOR and the Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA) agreed on a road map (ruta cr√≠tica) to enhance collaboration both at the federal and local levels. Minutes of the forum (including the road map) were published on CONAFOR‚Äôs website. Further dissemination was done (by CONAFOR and the Bank ‚Äď see the blog ‚ÄúMany challenges ‚Äď Many rewards: working together to strengthen forest sector in Mexico‚ÄĚ.

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Last Updated : 02-14-2018

Developing a Road Map for Benefit Sharing Using the Options Assessment Framework


A benefit-sharing mechanism among relevant stakeholders defines who will receive benefits, in what form they will be received (i.e., monetary or non-monetary benefits) and when they will be received. Establishing well-functioning mechanisms is important for providing effective incentives to participants for undertaking - or refraining from - specified actions. In other words, benefit-sharing mechanisms fundamentally determine how stakeholders contribute to resource management; sustainability; and the way desirable development outcomes are generated, distributed and reinvested. While establishing effective and equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms in the forest sector is clearly important, it has been a severe challenge in many countries, especially in those countries that lack the institutional and legal foundation to secure land, forest and carbon rights, or who fail to identify and provide proper incentives for sustainable forest management.


The major objective of this activity is to develop country roadmaps for benefit-sharing arrangements using PROFOR‚Äôs Options Assessment Framework, which employs a participatory approach to analyze and improve benefit-sharing arrangements. This technical assistance initially aimed to target three countries in Latin America, Africa and East Asia. 


The activity was successfully developed and implemented in close cooperation with CONAFOR, the key agency responsible for overseeing the REDD+ program in Mexico. Key milestones achieved include:

- Preparing and revising the initial country background report to accommodate comments from the World Bank, the PROFOR team and CONAFOR; 

- Adapting the PROFOR tool to fit the context of Mexico's REDD+ progress and focus;

- Hosting a webinar in order to receive feedback on the content of the country report; 

- Revising the country background report to accommodate comments from the webinar from actors involved in the REDD+ process in Mexico, such as federal and state government, NGOs, and academia;

- Holding a regional workshop focused on the core scoring exercise of the tool. The workshop took place in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico given its status as an Early REDD+ Action Area. The national workshop in Mexico City, Mexico then discussed, validated and refined the results from the regional workshop, with a policy-oriented angle. The project was later presented as a forum session at the World Forestry Congress in Durban in September 2015.

The activity as a whole is a roadmap to guide Mexico in the establishment of an appropriate benefit sharing mechanism for REDD+. Please see the final project report at left for details. 

In parallel, Uganda is being explored as a possible second country.

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Author : PROFOR and the World Bank
Last Updated : 12-18-2017