...exploring how people shape the world's forests

FLARE Workshops

The FLARE conference will offer six workshops on Monday, November 30th. Each workshop is $30 per person, and there is a cap of 16 people per workshop. 

You must register for the workshops on the main registration page.

Click here to access the registration page





Registration name: The Green Value tool

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Facilitators:  Dr. Shoana Humphies, Earth Innovation Institute; Dr. Thomas Holmes, USDA Forest Service

Description: There is an urgent need for quantitative data on the contributions of forest-based initiatives (e.g., individuals and enterprises producing and selling timber, NTFPs, environmental services) to local livelihoods and on the financial viability of different initiative models. The Green Value tool for simplified financial analysis of forest-based initiatives (FIs) is clear, rigorous and open access, and has been used since 2012 to train almost 200 people in six Latin American countries and to analyze over 25 diverse FI products and services, including logs, Brazil nuts, fisheries, and tourism. The goal of this workshop is to acquaint participants with the tool, including the User’s Guide, the pre-formatted worksheets, and the Facilitator’s Guide, as well as to promote the broader adoption of this tool for research and strengthening FIs.

The User’s Guide provides detailed instructions for the worksheets, as well as illustrative examples and case studies. The worksheets provide a template for collecting, organizing, and analyzing financial data for one productive period, as well as for generating time series data. The results provide cost estimates per type of input (labor, materials/services, machinery/equipment) for each productive activity and for administration, as well as total cost, cost per unit, total income, net income, and rate of return.

The results are useful to both the researcher and the FI. For the researcher, the overall financial viability indicators as well as the details on the FI’s livelihood contributions (i.e., the values of wages for temporary and permanent workers, and of the materials and services purchased from the local community/region) are useful for evaluating the specific FI and for comparison to other FIs. Information can also be gathered on how profit is invested (e.g., education, healthcare, infrastructure). For the FI, results can facilitate discussion about how to improve its financial viability (i.e., reduce specific costs, increase income) and needs/opportunities for investment. The Facilitator’s Guide is provided to help train FIs and their partner organizations, which can help with data collection as well as contribute to strengthening the FI’s management skills. The idea for the tool, in fact, came from our research with FIs in the Brazilian Amazon.

In the workshop, after a brief overview of the tool and how it has been used to date, participants will be led through Green Value’s six steps and introduced to the worksheets associated with each step. They will be provided with data and asked to work in teams to analyze an FI’s production of a forest product or service, as well as to discuss the financial results. The workshop will end with a discussion of the challenges for using the tool (i.e., follow-up with FIs and their partners) and proposals for its collaborative use. Our objective is for the results of using the tool to be used by researchers to inform knowledge about the financial viability of different types of FIs and the impacts of FIs on local development, to strengthen FIs long-term sustainability, and to improve policies and programs that affect FIs (e.g., credit, licensing, infrastructure).





Registration name: Terrestrial carbon accounting (TCA)

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Facilitators: Dr. John Niles, University of California San Diego; Dr. Rizaldi Boer, Center for Climate Risks and Opportunity Management, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia; Dr. Gao Xianlian, Forest Carbon Assessment and Monitoring Center, State Forestry Administration, China

Description: Climate change presents forest communities with livelihood risks and opportunities. Improved understanding of the distribution of carbon in biomass may help communities and nations better adapt to, or mitigate climate change and improve forest livelihoods. Importantly, many countries do not yet have fully developed internal academic abilities to train their own professionals in terrestrial carbon accounting (TCA). Without adequate nationally-nested TCA academic programs, there is a risk forest carbon opportunities for prosperity (e.g., from carbon compensation programs), and good governance may not meet their full potential, especially in light of a carbon-constrained future. Our work engages a range of actors in research and assessment of China, Indonesia and the US’s in-situ Terrestrial Carbon Accounting (TCA) academic capacity. Given a likely prominent role for terrestrial carbon in a new climate agreement – and TCA’s inherent complexity – our workshop will highlight the key role national TCA academics must play in enabling carbon-related progress in sustainable forest livelihoods and low-carbon economies.

Workshop Objectives and Goals
Our first objective of the workshop is to present initial empirical case studies from China, Indonesia and the US on government TCA needs (REDD+ baselines, intended climate change contributions, greenhouse gas inventories, reports) and compare these to the existing national TCA academic programs. We show there are still insufficient domestically-trainedTerrestrial Carbon Accounting (TCA) professionals. For example, China and Indonesia have developed some valuable short-term workshops and training programs on select TCA topics (GIS, field measurements, statistics etc), but still lack a sufficient cohort of qualified professionals for the antcipated community, sub-national and national TCA needs. The goal of the workshop is to discuss the above findings and lead a highly interactive discussion among all participants (not just presenters) about hands-on techniques for building endogenous capacity to teach TCA by collaborating internationally to identify best practices in TCA curriculums, pedagogical frameworks, and teaching methods.

Format and Proposed Agenda
The workshop will present initial findings from the US, China and Indonesia on the state of in-country academic programs in TCA (TCA academic baselines, government needs and gaps, solutions, tools, datasets etc) and TCA needs and gaps. The workshop will hear from each country for 10 minutes, followed by a 30-minute question and answer period and general discussion. The final hour will focus on specific hands-on tools (curriculum, data sets, academic tools, R code open source statistics, faculty exchanges) that foster best practices for teaching TCA. This discussion will focus on concrete ways to tailor TCA curriculum and engage governments and civil society to strengthen community forestry, climate change policies, international cooperation, UNFCCC processes, and implement locally-grounded forest carbon mitigation and adaptation programs.

Expected Outcomes
Expected outcomes of the workshop will include: 1) new partnerships and ideas for fostering institutional academic goodwill between countries; 2) a shared vision for international academic best practices for carbon accounting; and 3) specific ideas for engendering national ownership and relevance for TCA trainings.




Registration name: GEF Program

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Facilitators:  Bruce Wise (IFC); Margaret Arbuthnot (WWF); Ian Gray (GEF); Andrew Bovarnick (UNDP)

Description: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institution, the scientific community, civil society, and the private sector to address global environmental challenges in climate change, sustainable forest management, biodiversity conservation, and many other sectors. Since 1991, the GEF has invested over $14 billion in grants and leveraged an additional $70 billion in co-financing. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) is a small group of independent scientists which works closely with the GEF in ensuring the best available science is available to GEF Programs and outreach to the scientific community. Chaired by Dr. Rosina Bierbaum and supported by a small professional secretariat, STAP works closely with GEF partners in supporting the development of new program areas.

In 2014, the Global Environment Facility along with GEF implementing and executing agencies (UNDP, WWF, IFC, CI, UNEP, and IADB) and key industry stakeholders initiated the development of an Integrated Program titled ‘Taking Deforestation out of Commodity Supply Chains’ (IAP-Commodities).

The overall Program objective is to reduce the global impacts of agriculture commodities on climate change and biodiversity by meeting the growing supply and demand of palm oil, soy and beef through means that do not lead to deforestation.   The Program is structured in four interconnected components to maximize potential for impact on the commodity supply chains:  (i) Support to Production (ii) Generate Responsible Demand (iii) Enable Transactions (iv) Adaptive Management and Learning.

Further details about the program can be found at https://www.thegef.org/gef/IAP-commodities

An Evolving Research Agenda:
As part of the Adaptive Management and Learning component, the GEF IAP-Commodities program seeks to contribute to global research efforts linking sustainable commodities with environmental gains such as reduced deforestation and greenhouse gases. The FLARE conference provides an opportunity for the research community to contribute its thinking on current knowledge and greatest research needs in this area. It has been proposed that the GEF program focus on promoting research in the following themes:

  • Researching impacts of landscape level approaches – The program will pursue interventions in focal countries at the landscape level and is keen to identify research topics that could be proposed to the academic community using the GEF IAP-Commodities program as a case study.
  • Future Demand/Trend Analysis & Resource Implications –Understanding the drivers of long-term demand for these commodities and the land-use change implications is key, as is understanding some of the potential different scenarios that could emerge under low-carbon growth strategies and improved land-use governance (regulatory and voluntary approaches).
  • Certification Impacts Research – Voluntary sustainability standards are a well-recognized tool intended to drive sustainable commodity production, and more research is needed to demonstrate the actual impact of these standards against their theories of change.

While the IAP-Commodities Program has limited resources for undertaking research itself, it is exploring the idea of working with existing research collaborations/networks on developing a potential research clearinghouse/platform.

Workshop Objectives

1. To introduce the GEF Program to the wider research community;

2. To inform the program development team with feedback and guidance from participants;

3. To explore the concept of establishing a virtual research clearinghouse in the key themes.

Workshop Approach
Part 1: Panel (60 mins)
Moderated by Bruce Wise (IFC)

1.  Leading Research Institution (TBD)– To highlight the size of the challenge the program seeks to address; (10 mins);

2.  Bruce Wise (FC) – To explain the GEF programmatic approach; (20 Mins);

3.  Rosina Bierbaum/Laura Rasmussen (STAP/U. Michigan) – To introduce the IAP-Commodities Program, including the adaptive management and learning project; (20 Mins);

4.  WWF/ISEAL Alliance (TBD) – To discuss the current status of sustainable commodities impacts research and opine on future research needs that could be coordinated through a research clearinghouse/platform (10 mins);

Part 2: Q&A/discussion (60 mins)




Registration name: Forest dependence/policy

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Facilitators: Dr. Peter Newton, University of Colorado, Boulder; Dr. Avery Cohn, Tufts University; Dr Juliana Gil, Boston University

Description: Many development agencies and NGOs that invest in the forest sector variously state that they aim to change either the number of forest dependent people, or the extent to which those people are reliant on forests, or the benefit flows from forests to people. However, very few people – including most of those described as ‘forest dependent people’ – derive their livelihoods completely from forests. Rather, the vast majority of rural people living in and around forests in less developed countries have both forest- and agriculturally-derived livelihoods. Therefore, while it may be possible for benefit flows from forests to increase without affecting agricultural production, many policies or programs that affect the number of forest dependent people or the proportion of time, energy, and other resources devoted to forest livelihoods likely also have an impact on agriculture. This raises a key policy-relevant question about interventions that affect rural livelihoods: What are the implications of policies and programs that seek to change forest livelihoods by altering the number of forest dependent people and/or the intensity or nature of their forest dependence, for a) rural livelihoods, b) forest outcomes (e.g. forest cover, forest degradation), and c) agricultural outcomes (e.g. production, income, or food security)?

This workshop will consider the impacts that changes in forest dependence may have on the landscape, including both forest and agricultural outcomes. The workshop links closely to the conference themes of forests and livelihoods, while additionally promoting a landscape perspective and a more holistic view of rural livelihoods. In terms of policy and practice, the workshop provides an opportunity to consider the intended and unintended consequences of forest policy on the wider landscape. In terms of theory, the workshop will contribute to scholarship on linkages between livelihoods and landscapes.

The workshop has three objectives:

1.  To convene researchers, donors, and practitioners interested in the intersection of forest and agricultural livelihoods, at the landscape level

2.  To share ideas, theories, and evidence (including case-studies) that illustrate the agricultural impacts of policies and programs that seek to change forest livelihoods

3.  To synthesize these ideas into a format that can subsequently be developed into a concept paper, for collaborative authorship and publication

The expected outcomes of the workshop include:

1.  An email list and working group of researchers, donors, and practitioners interested in the intersection of forest and agricultural livelihoods, at the landscape level

2.  A co-authored paper that will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal within one year of the workshop. The FLARE network conference will be acknowledged in that paper.

The workshop will take the format of a roundtable discussion. Following introductions, the workshop organizers will facilitate a guided discussion organized around 3-5 pre-identified key questions. Participants will be invited to contribute ideas and evidence to each, and to challenge or build upon preceding contributions. We anticipate up to 12 participants. In the event of higher participation, we will break into sub-groups for the discussion, and create time to report back to the larger group.




Registration name: Concession 2.0

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Facilitators: Dr. Alain Karsenty, Cirad; Dr. Cédric Vermeulen, University of Liège, Gembloux; Dr. Jean-Claude Nguinguiri, FAO.

Description:  Industrial logging concessions are covering almost 45 million ha in Central Africa. Forest concessions in central Africa are seen by many analysts a legacy of the colonial period and many NGOs would like them dismantled to the benefit of community forestry and small-scale enterprises. On the other hand, existing community forests in central Africa has been highly disappointing in terms of sustainable management (Cuny, 2011) and a meta-analysis of the literature by Robinson et al (2011) finds an “association between negative forest outcomes and communal land in Africa”. As transport and logging costs becomes high, the case for autonomous community forest without a partnership with a neighbour concessionaire becomes unlikely for mere economic reasons (Ezzine de Blas et al, 2009). In low-populated and landlocked forest zones, the industrial concession is often one of the rare structures that can organize the economic activities by creating its own productive environment.

Community forests and industrial concessions are seen generally as mutually exclusive. On the other hand, within the framework of the FSC certification, some companies has started mapping the customary territories overlapping the industrial concessions and use such maps as a key for benefits sharing, with local investments decided jointly with communities and proportionate to the area of customary territory overlapping the industrial concession. New generation of forest regulations call for benefits sharing with “riparian” populations (Cameroon, Gabon), and/or for establishing “community development series” within the industrial concessions (Congo). In the DR Congo, the 2014 decree organizing community forestry paves the way for a dual conception of such forestry, with the distinction between the “forest of the local community” (that is the customary territory that can overlap with industrial concessions) and the “community concession”, this latter being potentially a subdivision of the former but associated to an exclusive area (Vermeulen and Karsenty, 2015). In addition, the UK-based NGO Rainforest Foundation and its local partners have already mapped thousands of hectares of “customary territories” throughout the Congo Basin.

These dynamics, if deepened and handled by public policies, may trigger a transformation of the concession system in central Africa toward recognition of overlapping rights associated with different “institutional layers” on the same area. The overlapping areas might not only be a key element for benefit sharing, but they could also become joint management areas (including control of outsiders) with the development of non-timber economic activities in joint ventures between the industrial concessionaires and the various communities, having those overlapping rights recognised by the legal frameworks. As for the community-based concessions, allowing for exclusive rights by moving the industrial concession boundaries in order to make room for viable small-scale enterprises might be the second part of the case for promoting joint management, associating overlapping and exclusive rights for communities. Gazetting of Forest Management Units, not yet completed in central Africa, will provide the opportunity for such moving of boundaries when needed. To allow for this evolution towards “concessions 2.0”, legal frameworks might be adapted and mainstreamed. Zoning policies based on strict land sparing should be reconsidered in favour of a more balanced approach allowing for land sharing. The FSC certification provides significant incentives for such evolution and mapping forest customary territories is being considered as one of a possible REDD+ enabling activities.

The workshop will start with a joint presentation of the concept of the “concession 2.0” by Alain Karsenty and Cedric Vermeulen, with visual simulations. The presentation (sent in advance to panellists) will analyse the current trends in central Africa, the potential and the limitation of the current legal frameworks, the competing agendas of stakeholders, and propose a strategy for mainstreaming the various policy initiatives. Then, a panel of practitioners, officials and researchers will discuss the proposal. Proposed members of the panel are representatives of Congo Basin’s governments (COMIFAC), of the Forest Model initiative, of Rights and Resources Initiative, of NGO’s currently mapping forest rights and a representative of certified forest company (tbc). The panel will be moderated by Jean-Claude Nguinguiri (FAO, tbc). The audience will have also the possibility to question the presenters and react to the panel discussion.

A policy roadmap for recognition of and managing of overlapping rights and mainstreaming existing policy initiatives will be proposed by the facilitators, with the objective of introducing this policy option in the framework of policy and measures for REDD+.




Registration name: Transformative Transparency Platform (TTP)

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Facilitators:  Javier Godar, Stockholm Environment Institute; Dr. Toby A. Gardner, research fellow Stockholm Environment Institute; Lucas Urbano, Nature Manager at Group Danone; Paul Wolvekamp, Deputy Director of Both Ends; Niki Mardas, Director of Global Programmes of the Global Canopy Programme (GCP).

Description: Under the current pace of change it is unlikely that near-term pledges by public and private sector actors to reduce deforestation and improve forest-based livelihoods, especially in the tropics, will be fully implemented in practice. Surging demand for agricultural commodities, such as soy, beef and oil palm, is the major driver of forest loss globally, yet the connections that bind the myriad of supply chain actors remain opaque, hampering options to leverage accountability and increase the sustainability of supply chains. Current efforts remain highly piecemeal and fragmented, unable to foster the kind of transformation needed to protect both forests and the forest dependent livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. This workshop will present and invite critical discussion around the Transformative Transparency Platform (TTP) for agricultural commodity supply chains.This platform seeks to address critical gaps in understanding and awareness that need to be overcome in order to strengthen accountability mechanisms, reveal cost-effective entry points for action and motivate supply chain actors to invest in sustainability. Short presentations from a consortium of institutions involved in the platform, including actors involved in delivering and monitoring of zero-deforestation commitments will provide the basis for discussion.

This session will share and discuss new findings and recently developed tools, data and frameworks, contributing towards a more in-depth and practical understanding of how to improve and better monitor interventions in the supply chains of forest-risk agricultural commodities. First, we will draw attention to the limits of existing efforts to unmask the socio-environmental impacts embedded in agricultural supply chains, and argue that greater effort is needed to (i) address the middle ground between fine-scale yet high-cost traceability mechanisms and the coarse-grained picture of conventional footprint accounting, and (ii) leverage more effective governance and accountability mechanisms from increased transparency, including to reduce impacts on small-scale forest-dependent communities. Second, we will present recent developments and ideas around the three interrelated tiers of the TTP platform: (I) an innovative material-flow accounting method (SEI-PCS model) that integrates sub-national data on agricultural production and domestic material flows with detailed customs, traders´ export/import and international trade-flows data, revealing fine-resolution connections between geographies of producers and consumers and capable of supporting a robust jurisdictional approach for supply-chain governance, (II) the coupling of information on trade connections from Tier I with the characteristics of the production regions, including socio-environmental risks and performance, as well as the features and actors that shape future development opportunities, and (III) the development of support tools by which fine-grained information on supply chains and associated sustainability conditions can help the private sector, governments and consumers in making strategic investments and monitoring of progress against supply chain commitments.

The session will close with an interactive group discussion including the audience and invited experts. Inspired by the preceding discussions the group will be challenged with critically appraising two key questions: (i) what kind of transparency information is possible, desirable and actionable? (ii) How can increased supply chain transparency best lead to positive action to reduce deforestation and improve forest-dependent livelihoods?