Skip to main content


Between 2010 and 2015, 8 million hectares of forest were lost annually, mainly in the tropics. Especially the tropical regions of our planet are characterized by high poverty and by complex ecosystems with high biodiversity. Many people are directly or indirectly dependent from forest ecosystems.

Ongoing deforestation often results in dramatic impacts on livelihoods and ecosystem services including biodiversity. Promising policy approaches like REDD+, payments for ecosystem services, good-governance or FLEGT – among others - have been developed but their effectiveness to counteract the causes of deforestation is not explored yet adequately in most countries (GRAINGER 2010).

The causes of deforestation are depending from geographical, biological and socio-economic conditions (GEIST ET AL. 2001; HOSONUMA ET AL.2012, KISSINGER ET AL. 2012; KÖTHKE ET AL. 2013). Problems, caused by deforestation emerge on different scale levels. On the land user level, poverty and subsistence need to be studied. Consequences of reduced ecosystem services are usually related to higher spatial scales, e.g. the use of water resources or avoidance of erosion on the water catchment level. The loss of cultural services for biodiversity and the consequences of climate change are related to the global scale level (FREMIER ET AL. 2013).

In order to tackle these challenges, it appears essential to apply an approach integrating different scale levels for the analysis of the deforestation drivers as well as giving recommendations for an effective allocation of appropriate policy instruments (GÜNTER ET AL. 2013). Beyond strategies and policy approaches for the avoidance of deforestation, it is also necessary to initiate reforestation activities and to impede simultaneously perverse incentives or unwanted leakage effects. The development of strategies for sustainable forest management depends on sustainable land-use concepts on the landscape level. In addition to the valuation of wood and alternative utilization potentials sustainable forest management requires a perspective beyond the forest margins – towards a landscape approach which adequately integrates forestry and agroforestry systems as well as non-forest related land-use systems (KNOKE ET AL.2013).

It is essential that the interrelationship between stakeholders is analysed and optimized by policy instruments so that the livelihoods of the local population can be improved by simultaneously safeguarding the provision of ecosystem services on the landscape level (FROST ET AL. 2006, PERSHAET AL. 2011). Landscape and silvicultural potentials need to be combined in order to meet the demands of the local population (SAYER ET AL. 2013).

As governance structures and decision processes are often inefficient and unclear in many developing countries, official land-use decisions (de jure) are often not adequately implemented (de facto) (SAMNDONG,

Therefore, sustainable land-use requires a deeper understanding of decision processes, which are based on legal and traditional rules for the utilization of natural resources. In the context of this project, two essential policy instruments with a potential for promoting sustainable forest management will be explored: financial incentive systems and regulative instruments.

Scroll to top