Previous meetings (Paris 2015, Edinburgh 2016) emerged as a unique space for presentations and discussions around forests and livelihoods, and for generating new relationships among those in our field, especially for younger researchers.

The 2017 meeting was organized in partnership with Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI), Forest, Climate and Livelihoods Research Network (FOCALI), and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). It continued to advance discussion and collaboration around the relationships surrounding forests and livelihoods, with special attention to three core themes, although it also built on themes from previous meetings.

The meeting was part of a convergence of actors and experts on land rights in Stockholm during the first week of October, 2017.

On October 3rd, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) held a “Development Talk” (public seminar) on the topic of Land rights in relation to gender, climate change and conflict. It consisted of a public seminar involving speakers from the Rights and Resources Initiative, FAO, Sida, Ford Foundation, among others, as well as a hands-on workshop focused on land rights in practice, based loosely around The Tenure Facility’s pilot projects. For more information please see Sida’s page for Development Talks.

On October 4th and 5th, the third biannual conference in the International Conference Series on Community Land and Resource Rights took place on the outskirts of Stockholm. The theme for the 2017 conference was Reducing Inequality in a Turbulent World: Scaling up strategies to secure indigenous, community and women’s land rights. More information is available here.


Meeting summary available here

Final meeting program available here

Meeting Program

Friday, September 29
19:00: Welcome Reception at Stockholm City Hall (Home of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony!)

Saturday, September 30
8:30 – 16:00: Paper Sessions
12:30 – 15:30: Group Discussion on the Rights and Resources Initiative’s (RRI) Tenure Tracking Methodologies
16:45 – 21:00: Evening Dinner Cruise (Optional, $40)

Sunday, October 1
8:30 – 15:00: Paper Sessions
10:30 – 12:30: Group Discussion on the Future of Forest Work
15:00: Keynote Presentation, Dr. Peter Holmgren, former CIFOR General Director

Monday, October 2
9:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 16:00: Optional Workshops ($50 each)

Meeting Themes

Ethics of Forest-Livelihoods Policies

Small and Medium Forest Enterprises and forest based livelihoods

This theme focuses on the actual and potential contributions of small and medium forest enterprises to livelihoods and wellbeing (terms also interpreted broadly). In particular, abstract submissions should examine the more recent (2010-2017) research and publications on the subject. Contributions should highlight existing evidence at different scales that shows whether and how SMFEs contribute effectively to rural livelihoods and wellbeing of poorer and marginalized groups in particular, action steps that can improve such contributions, and the role of different stakeholders in the realization of these action steps.

Forest, Livelihoods, and the SDGs

This theme focuses on the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and forest-related livelihoods (terms also interpreted broadly). Abstract submissions should review the two-way relationships between the SDGs and forest livelihoods by examining how actions to sustain and improve rural, forest-related livelihoods may contribute to the SDGs (even when such actions are not directly related to the SDGs), and also in cases where governments and development initiatives, in an effort to achieve the SDGs, undermine the livelihoods of forest-proximate peoples. Ideally, contributions will provide a sense of the available evidence on the subject, and suggest key SDG indicators that can be used to monitor changes in forest-related livelihoods.

The Future of Forest Work and Communities

This theme examines the future of work in relation to forests, forest-based livelihoods, and local communities in a rapidly urbanizing world. To this end, we seek submissions that examine 1) the drivers and patterns of both rural- to- urban and urban-to-rural migration and the impacts of these trends on forest communities and conservation; 2) case studies/examples of thriving forest communities that successfully engage members of all ages in forest-related work; 3) the role of land rights and resource control in sustaining forest communities economically, culturally, and ecologically; and 4) what makes for ‘meaningful work’ in forest communities in the context of rapid globalization, especially for youth. What role, if any, can government, private sector, and civil society play in promoting such outcomes?

Forests in Flux

Forests are undergoing change around the world, with the majority being secondary in their successional stages. How are these forests changing, and how does this affect people who live in/near them? We invite submissions that relate, but are not limited to the following sub-themes: 1) The ecological properties of different types of forests (plantations, agroforestry systems, primary, managed, naturally regenerating) and the ecosystem services and livelihood benefits that they provide. 2) Patterns in forest cover change (and other properties of forests) at multiple temporal and spatial scales, and the implications of these changes for people.3) How policy and market-based initiatives drive changes in forest cover (or other forest properties) and use (e.g. climate change policies including REDD+, FLEGT, the Bonn Challenge on forest landscape restoration, large-scale corporate interests, zero net deforestation commitments). 4) Climate and climate policies as drivers of forest and forest-based livelihood change. 5) Studies that generally integrate research on changing forest ecology or forest properties with people’s lives and livelihoods.

Developing Approaches and Indicators to Assess Social and Ecological Outcomes

This theme has a methodological focus. Contributions addressing the challenges related to 1) establishing causal relationships between various types of forest interventions and ecological/livelihood/governance outcomes 2) using experimental approaches and counterfactual analyses; 3) merging datasets with different resolutions; 4) selecting indicators (including proxy and predictive indicators) to assess impacts; 5) balancing context-specific design parameters with generalizable results; and 6) combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Other relevant methodological tools are also welcome.

Linking Practice and Research

Efforts to better connect research with people and organizations involved in forest management and livelihood development decision making are receiving increased interest and attention. This theme seeks contributions that highlight research needs from the view of practitioners. Abstracts may describe or identify on-the-ground challenges (for example, of implementing and/or measuring progress of climate mitigation and adaptation interventions, or legality verification mechanisms), knowledge and data gaps, and useable, robust monitoring and evaluation strategies. Contributions that propose research-practitioner collaborations are also welcome.

Pathways to Prosperity

We invite conceptual, framing, modeling, and empirical work (including case studies and cross-case comparative studies) that highlight the role of forests in lifting people out of poverty and spurring broader economic growth (e.g. scaling up of small and medium forest enterprises, community-private sector partnerships, large-scale industrial development of based on forest products, new markets (e.g. for carbon credits) and earnings based on non-wood forest products and the like). Studies at local or regional levels where forest reliance has improved people’s lives and livelihoods while conserving the natural resource base, as well as theoretical contributions, are especially valuable. Studies that analyze the historic and/or contemporary contribution of forests to national economies are also of interest. Abstracts that focus on solutions, successes, and lessons learned, are welcome.

Implementing Forest & Livelihood Policies

This theme examines the role of governments in implementing forest, agriculture, and livelihood policies. Contributions will highlight the ways in which forest governance structures, systems, and players exacerbate policy failure, in some cases, and assist in developing innovative solutions to forest and livelihood challenges, in others. We are thus seeking papers that 1) apply theories of policy implementation or public management to understanding forest policy implementation; 2) develop new approaches or theories to understanding the role of government officials in forest policy implementation (or agriculture policy implementation in or near forests); and 3) report on successful strategies used by practitioners to effect positive change in the management of forests. We welcome papers that focus on the implementation of important recent policy initiatives, such as REDD+, FLEG(T/VPA), zero net deforestation, and the Bonn challenge, as well as examining older and broader policy initiatives. We especially encourage submissions by people with practical experience in the field – such as government officials, activists, and NGO leaders.

Agricultural Commodities

Contributions should address how the expansion or intensification of agricultural commodity production relates to forest cover and distribution on the landscape. Empirical or theoretical work that examines the effect of ‘zero deforestation’ policies and how commodity agriculture affects deforestation and reforestation rates and livelihood outcomes are welcome, particularly those that employ a landscape approach to assess linkages between forests and their surrounding agricultural landscapes, and the varied trade and subsistence activities that shape them.

* Two special sessions on the systematic assessment of land transaction outcomes will be developed; contributions that consider socio-economic and environmental impacts or trade-offs between diverging goals are welcome.


Empirical or theoretical contributions that assess the linkages between climate and forests will be appropriate for this panel, and important for shaping discussions at the UNFCCC COP21 meeting. Potential areas of interest are climate and climate policies as drivers of forest change, and the importance of forests as part of emerging policy frames for carbon development, climate-smart agriculture, monitoring and prevention of deadly infectious disease, climate adaptation, or other broad approaches to human security within and beyond forests.


2a Design and methods of research with community participation: integrating local ecological knowledge, practices and worldviews in resources use and management planning

Facilitator: Fernanda Ayaviri Matuk (Wageningen University – Netherlands/Federal Institute of MG – Brazil)

Specific Aims of the Workshop:

  • Allow critical understanding of the ethics and implications of brokerage for academics and practitioners that work (directly or not) with landscape and other approaches associated to community-based resource use and management, as part of  policies or NGO/academic;
  • Share examples of approaches implemented with peasants, indigenous etc. to address environmental conservation and food sovereignty, and problematize challenges/potentials of participatory research;
  • Provide knowledge on design and methodological practice of participatory research to assess and incorporate local knowledge, practices and worldviews (k-p-w assemblage) embedded in community resources and territorial/landscape dynamics into project/policy implementation;
  • Facilitate circles of conversation and activity of research design and participatory methods simulation.

Agenda with specific activities

Session 1 (50 minutes, followed by break of 10 minutes)

  • Presentation of the workshop goals, and introduction of largely emphasized limitations of approaches targeted at communities to: inter-relate project design (theory) with local reality (practice); implement participatory methods in an efficient way; create trust with/amongst stakeholders and counterbalance their mind-sets/needs; and comprehend concepts that underpin landscape dynamics such as territory;
  • Experiences of participatory frameworks (innovation brokerage, ethnoecology and adaptive co-management) implemented with indigenous, marrons and peasants from Brazil, Africa etc., ethics and awareness of non-appropriate brokerage and participatory planning;
  • K-p-w assemblages as key linkage for socioecological and local-to-global dimensions of resource use/management, operationalization of territories and constitution of landscapes;
  • Debating the topics presented in circle of conversation.

Key knowledge, tool, skill to be presented and acquired by participants: critical view on participatory frameworks and policy/project implementation, with focus on landscape approaches; awareness of the social role and responsibility of brokers/scientists;  understanding the k-p-w assemblage within the interplay of social, institutional and ecological dimensions of resource use/management embedded in territory /landscape.

Session 2 (50 minutes, followed by break of 10 minutes)

  • Steps to (re)design participatory research inter-relating theory/models and practice/fieldwork reality along different moment of research conduction (diagnosis, scenery envisioning, strategy planning, monitoring and evaluation); including sampling strategy in face of communities heterogeneity/complexity;
  • Implementation of participatory methods to assess local k-p-w when diagnosing the local context of land use dynamics; envisioning scenarios; co-design action-plans for land use and resource management; v) exchanging and co-producing knowledge;
  • Debating the topics presented in circle of conversation and exchanging personal experiences.

Key knowledge, tool, skill, presented and acquired by participants: constructing trust and horizontal relation with communities; assessing/integrating local k-p-w; implementing semi-structured interview, history timeline, participatory mapping, guided-tours; fuzzy cognitive mapping and Venn diagram; exchanging experiences.

Section 3 (60 minutes)

  • A group work activity will consist on facilitating the formulation of a research design and methodological framework to collect data for hypothetical community contexts and related project/policy. Groups will choose one or two methods to simulate their practice, and will systematize their propositions to presented them to the other participants, and receive constructive evaluation;
  • A round of circle of conversation will allow final clarifications, and evaluation of personal learning and opinion about the workshop.

Key knowledge, tool, skill, presented and acquired by participants: practicing, reflecting and fixing the knowledge obtained, and evaluating the workshop; clarifying questions about the topics encompassed by the workshop; appreciation of the knowledge learned and of the workshop itself.

[CANCELLED] 2b Sharing Research for Impact

[UPDATED] 2b Livelihoods and Well-being app – LivWell

The FLARE Livelihood and Wellbeing (LivWell) Tool: A suite of applications and resources for measuring household livelihoods and wellbeing

Facilitators: Ashwini Chhatre (Indian School of Business), Nabin Pradhan (Indian School of Business), Arun Agrawal (University of Michigan), and James Erbaugh (University of Michigan)

Specific Aims of the Workshop:

This workshop is for academics and practitioners interested in measuring livelihood and wellbeing at the household level, especially in order to gauge the impact of a project intervention. The workshop leaders will provide a “hands-on” introduction and training for the FLARE Livelihoods and Wellbeing (LivWell) Tool. The FLARE LivWell tool provides a streamlined set of questions, implemented using an app-based survey, to measure household livelihood and wellbeing. Users can download and analyze survey data from the LivWell Tool through the online data and analysis platform. This platform provides a set of basic parameters to assist in the basic measurement of livelihood and wellbeing for different geographic areas as well as impact estimation from a given project.

By the end of this session, we envision that each attendee will download, be familiar and comfortable with the LivWell Tool; will have a draft Work Plan for implementing the LivWell Tool in their own data collection settings; and will be able to contribute feedback on how we might improve this instrument for future use. We are excited to be able to offer this inaugural workshop, and we look forward to expanding the FLARE LivWell community. community!


9:00 – 9:10 am: Welcome

9:10 – 9:45 am: The need for and design of the LivWell Tool (Presentation)

9:45-10:15 am: The app-based survey and user manuals (Download app; distribute manuals)

10:15-10:45 am: Downloading, visualizing, and analyzing the data (Interactive tour of platform)

10:45-11:15 am: Overview of a draft Work Plan and sampling basics on a budget

11:15-11:45 pm: Break-Out and Individual Consultation: Developing your Work Plan

11:45-12:00: Conclusion and Feedback

Key knowledge, tool, or skill

This workshop introduces attendees to the FLARE LivWell Tool and trains them on using it for their own purposes to collect, download, visualize, and analyze data for measuring household livelihood and wellbeing.


Attendees will be able to:

  • Use the LivWell Tool, from downloading the app-based survey, querying data online, and using the visualization and analysis platform to receive preliminary results
  • Draft a Work Plan to implement the LivWell Tool in their own sites, focusing on maximizing survey dissemination given budget constraints, writing a sampling protocol, and planning for an enumerator training
  • Provide valuable feedback to the LivWell Team on improving the Tool and become part of the LivWell User Community

Scientific Committee

Christopher Barrett (Cornell University)
Tony Bebbington (Clark University)
Rosina Bierbaum (University of Michigan)
Guillermo Castilleja (Moore Foundation)
Robin Chazdon (University of Connecticut)
Stanley Dinsi (Network For Environment and Sustainable Development-Cameroon)
Michael Dove (Yale University)
Paul Ferraro (Johns Hopkins University)
Susanna Hecht (University of California, Los Angeles)
David Kaimowitz (Ford Foundation)
Alain Karsenty (CIRAD)
Eric Lambin (Stanford University)
Melissa Leach (University of Sussex)
Jan McAlpine (International Consultant)
Peter Messerli (University of Bern)
Arthur Mugisha (AIMM Green, Uganda)
Tuyeni Mwampamba (UNAM CIEco)
Harini Nagendra (Azim Premji University)
Robert Nasi (CIFOR)
Jesse Ribot (UIUC)
Britaldo Soares-Filho (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)
Sven Wunder (CIFOR)

Coordination Committee

Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan
Krister Andersson, University of Colorado at Boulder
Bas Arts, Wageningen University
J.T Erbaugh, University of Michigan
Anil Bhargava, University of Michigan
Dan Brockington, University of Sheffield
Reem Hajjar, Oregon State University
Madeleine Fogde, Stockholm Environment Institute
Malin Gustafsson, University of Gothenburg
Jordi Honey-Roses, University of British Columbia
Suhyun Jung, University of Michigan
Tim Kelly, University of Edinburgh
Chuan Liao, University of Michigan
Pete Newton, University of Colorado at Boulder
Johan Oldekop, University of Sheffield
Laura Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen
Peter Schlyter, Stockholm University
Clarisse Kehler Siebert, Stockholm Environment Institute and Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI)
Ingrid Stjernquist, Stockholm University
Jonathan Sullivan, University of Michigan
Jesse Ribot, University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign
Rebecca Rutt, University of East Anglia
Cristy Watkins, University of Michigan
Sarah Wilson, University of Michigan
Jennifer Zavaleta, University of Michigan