Over the past quarter century, decentralized policies have become an established plank of efforts by governments, donors, and foundations to support improvements in natural resource governance. Community forestry efforts are one of the pillars of the pursuit of decentralization in the forestry sector. But low cost tools easily available to monitor the performance of community forestry interventions remain elusive. Nor are reliable, multi-country, over-time data on community forestry easily available. The IFRI-FLARE Community Forestry App developed as part of the support from ICF and DFID to IFRI seeks to meets this dual challenge of effective, low cost monitoring, and generating multi-country data on community forestry.
Although outcomes of community forestry are potentially affected by hundreds of different factors, the app is based on a small set of questions about community forestry interventions and their context. These questions have been derived through the long-term research carried out by the International Forestry Resources and Institutions Network in more than 300 locations around the world, a thorough review of the scholarly and policy literature on community forestry, and an analysis of the most important factors that affect outcomes.
The current release of the app supports users who want to view how and where their community forest stands in relation to other community forests in their country or in the world. Future releases will provide early indicators of areas of management and implementation needing attention. The app can be completed in approximately 30-40 minutes by a user interested in monitoring the state of their community forest. The intended audience for the app are project managers and implementers, NGOs, local communities, researchers, and others interested in community forestry outcomes.