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Few subjects so immediately invoke the challenge of environmentally sustainable development as mankind’s “green” surroundings, forests prominent among them.

How to ensure that forests—but also grasslands, wetlands and other lands—are managed in an environmentally sustainable way? How best to reconcile the many different values they embody? What kind of policies and institutional arrangements are most conducive to the socially best combined use of these resources? How is the management of these resources linked to climate change- and other dominant development concerns of our times?

Like other courses in this program, the present one is a composite of several topics each of which represents a specialized area of study and practice. Here, the essentials are introduced under each module accompanied by leads to further information and insights.

Throughout, forests receive the bulk of attention but their interactions with non-forest biomes are also invoked.

This e-course is intended for non-specialists in positions of public responsibility wishing rapidly to become familiar with the basics of the subject. Staff of government authorities working on forest- or land related projects and private managers may find the material a convenient summary of the global thinking on the subject.



Module 1: Forests and their sustainable management

The module introduces you to the essential terminology related to forests, key trends in forest cover in Asia and the Pacific, and the basics of forest management. The balance between production, conservation and other management objectives comes in for a closer look.

Module 2: Integrated landscape-based approaches to managing forest resources

In common with most other renewable resources, forests are typically part of a broader ecosystem, a landscape. The module explores the importance of this embeddedness for forest management.

Module 3: Forests, vulnerability and community-managed forests

In the majority of developing countries, forests are often found at the end of the proverbial road, in uplands, in areas associated with poverty and precarity. Local communities depend on forests for livelihoods. The module looks more closely at this experience and introduces you to community-based management as a potential tool of sustainable use.

Module 4: Managing forests and other lands to sequester carbon

The capacity of forests to act as natural sinks of carbon is now well understood. The module reminds you of the essentials and introduces you to some of the institutional developments capitalizing on this potential. The less well appreciated carbon sequestration by soils and pasturelands is also introduced.

Module 5: Increasing climate- and disaster resilience through ecosystem-based action

Healthy and diversified ecosystems add substantially to the resilience of local societies to climate-related and other risks. Maintaining healthy “natural infrastructure” can be a cheaper way of reducing disaster risks than man-made defenses. The module explains.