Can DRC’s community forests lift people out of poverty?

In the quest to reduce poverty, community forestry is an attractive endeavor. So much so that multiple countries with tropical forests have placed it at the heart of their rural development strategies, giving local communities the rights to both directly manage forests, and decide how land will be used.

Underpinning community forestry is the proven belief that local people are best placed to manage the land on which they rely. And by it being done sustainably- poverty can be alleviated, social mobility enhanced, and the ecological protection of the forest achieved.

But between theory and practice, lies a disconnect.

A new study shows that sadly the benefits don’t necessarily materialize. Community elites are most likely to reap the rewards from such models, risking disillusionment among rural communities. Such is the case of multiple community forests initiatives across Central Africa…