To support its conservation objective, WWF-Laos launched a Community-based Forest Restoration and Management for Livelihood. In partnership with Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department (PAFO) of Sekong and Salavan province, this project is implemented in 6 villages - 2 villages per district including Samuay and Ta Oi, Salavan province and Kaleum district, Sekong province.
Forest status in Lao PDR has been undergoing significant changes in the past decades both in the quantitative and quality lens. Forest cover decreased from 71.8% of total land area in 1940 to 40.33% in 2010 (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Lao PDR 2016). The decline is largely caused by the conversion of forest for agricultural production, uncontrolled wood harvesting as well as infrastructure and urban developments. The government of Laos has set an ambitious target to increase forest cover up to 70% by 2020 (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 2005).
WWF-Laos Forest Programme aims at halting deforestation and ensuring Laos’ forests are effectively protected or under improved management. One of priority landscape of WWF-Laos is the Central Annamites Landscape (CAL), covering southern Laos province of Salavan and Sekong and part of Vietnam. The landscape holds one of the coherent natural forests in continental Asia, with high endemic species. Focus area for Lao side in the CAL is Xe Sap National Protected Area.
The overall goal of the project is to enhance community participation in forest management in the Central Annamites Landscape (Sekong and Salavan province) to ensure forest-dependent people benefit from natural resources in a sustainable manner. These 6 communities are located in and around Xe Sap NPA, rural remote areas, mostly cannot be reached during the rainy season because of poor road condition and they are among the poorest by Lao poverty line standard. Their main livelihoods include cultivating upland rice/shifting cultivation and growing cassava and corn as a supplementary staple food, collecting non-forest timber product (NFTPs) as well as small game hunting for both consumption and sale for cash income.
Together, WWF-Laos and local partner, including local communities, the project is going to help rehabilitate, restore and protect the forests and corridors, while at the same time enhancing the income of the area’s culturally diverse people who also depend on forests for their livelihoods through forest protection and sustainable use of forest resources and preserving the unique species diversity. Specifically, main activities include (1) Forest Restoration and Management (2) Promoting Agroforestry and (3) Supporting Livelihood Development.
By the end of the project, forest corridors in the 6 selected villages are expected to be under improving management as well as community-based forest restoration is piloted and promoted. The target villages will also benefit from project support of an integrated livelihood development activity, community production group will be set up and supported as part of livelihood development activity.
In June 2019, together, WWF-Laos and the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office of Sekong and Salavan provinces (PAFO) organized an official forest restoration kickoff events on Jun 3 and 5, 2019, in Kaleum and Samuay district respectively. Officials and villagers from targeted villages joined the event and together planted the first set of trees as part of the kick-off event. More than 3,000 seedlings were planted under the support of the Community-based Forest Restoration and Management for Livelihood project.
Grow forests, grow futures is a concept guiding the project’s community-based forest restoration activity as WWF believes that by improving and protecting forest ecosystem not only benefits the environment but it will also improve the livelihoods of people who depend on forest. This new project is an additional initiative to its intervention in the CAL that has an overarching goal of conserving and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems in the forest complex in and around the Xe Sap NPA through improved natural resources management by key actors and transboundary cooperation with Vietnam.Tree Planting VDO
The CAL contains a number of rural districts including Kaleum, Ta-Oi, and Samoui, where WWF-Laos partners with local community members and local government, restoring and protecting high conservation value rain forest areas. The communities involved in the project are made up of some of Laos’s ethnic minority groups living in areas where almost all livelihoods are made from the forest’s natural resources. At the project’s first restoration event in 2019, over 3,000 native tree seedlings were planted. Now, after another planting in July 2021, nearly 100 acres of the forest is supported by 30,000 new trees and protected by the local people.read more about the forest restoration in CAL here
Community-based Forest Restoration and Management for Livelihood project is a partnership project between WWF-Finland and WWF-Laos with operation period from 2018-2021 and financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.