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


IFRI researchers and collaborating research centers have been involved in a large number of diverse projects since the network’s inception. Details of some historic and all current projects are outlined below.

Sutdying Poverty, Agriculture Risks and Coping Strategies

Dates: 2014-present

Region: Global

Partner: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

This project identifies the key coping mechanisms that poor and marginal households use to cope with agricultural risks; the role of institutions and collective action in coping with risks; and the effectiveness of individual vs. collective coping mechanisms. [Learn more…]

Community Forest Management and REDD+

Dates: 2012 – 2013

Countries Bolivia, Nepal, Tanzania

Partner: The World Bank

This project explores the relationship between community forestry and REDD+ to identify the most important contextual, policy, and institutional factors that lead to successful terrestrial carbon storage in forest commons. The study is important in the context of the rapidly proliferating discourses on REDD+ and the increasing importance of achieving multiple benefits from forests. [Learn more…]

Governance of mitigation in agriculture and forest landscapes

Dates: 2011 – present

Partner: CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

Region: Africa, Asia and South America
The rapid expansion of commodity agriculture in tropical forest landscapes is a key driver of deforestation. To meet the growing demand for food from a more prosperous and expanding global population, it is imperative to develop sustainable commodity supply chains that support higher agricultural productivity, and that enable improved environmental, economic and social outcomes. [Learn more…]

The Central African Forests and Institutions (CAFI)

Dates: 2008 – present

Countries: Congo Basin, with a focus on Cameroon and Republic of Congo

A multi-year study funded by the National Science Foundation, seeking to understand the relationships between Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), industry, and government, and their effects on logging concessions in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. [Learn More…]


The Emergence of Adaptive Governance Arrangements for Tropical Forest Ecosystems

Dates: 2011-2014

Countries: Bolivia and Uganda

Funding: National Science Foundation

This project seeks to determine the conditions under which successful adaptive governance arrangements arise.  The research builds on the IFRI database to establish a longitudinal trend of forest governance and ecological outcomes and applies a suite of new research tools, from surveys to role-playing games, to answering this question.  Because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of this project, the project personnel are drawn from the fields of political science, ecology, mathematics, psychology and economics.

For more information, please contact Krister Andersson

Institutions and Forest landscapes in Eastern Africa(IFLEA):2013

Dates: 2013

Partner: UFRIC

Funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Project supports the maintenance of the IFRI database and research for two masters students. Funded a regional policy learning workshop in August 2013 in Naivasha, Kenya. This workshop was an opportunity to share the IFRI research findings from Eastern Africa CRCs.  This project as funded the book “Changing Institutions and Livelihoods in East African Forest Landscapes,” and sponsored an 8 week IFRI training Course.

Forest Social Ecological Systems for Actionable Science

Dates: 2012 – 2013

Partner: Environmental Synthesis Center

This project seeks to bring together IFRI and other researchers working on forest social-ecological system to advance the understanding of i) how local communities use and govern their forests, ii) the factors that explain broad patterns of community forest use and governance, and iii) how institutional and ecological factors combine across multiple contexts to yield different patterns of outcomes. The Venture will substantially improve the IFRI database and the capacity of SES researchers worldwide to contribute to actionable science for community-used and governed forests in human-dominated landscapes.

For more information, please contact Peter Newton

Explaining protected area outcomes in the Andes-Amazon region

Partner:The Moore Foundation

The continuing importance of forests in the daily lives of hundreds of millions of households around the world, and the widespread recognition of the role of forests in reducing climate change-related emissions provide a new urgency to analytical efforts to understand how deforestation can be reduced without adversely affecting the livelihoods of those who depend on forests. This project aims to achieve two outcomes: 1) identify the most critical social indicators associated with global and regional variations in forest-related social and ecological outcomes in community-managed forests and 2) take the initial steps toward developing statistical models to explain spatial and over time variations in forested protected area outcomes in the Andes-Amazon region.

For more information, please contact Christoph Nolte

Studying Poverty, Agricultural Risks, and Coping Strategies (SPARCS)

Dates: 2010 – 2012

Partner: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This project addresses knowledge gaps related to the key coping mechanisms that poor and marginal households use to cope with agricultural risks, the role of institutions and collective action in coping with risks, and the effectiveness of individual vs. collective coping mechanisms.

Is Tanzania’s Participatory Forest Management Program a Triple Win?

Dates: 2011 – 2015

Partner: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation

This project aims to understand causal pathways for livelihoods, governance and forest conservation impacts within the context of Tanzania’s participatory forest management program. The project uses IFRI survey tools to collect data from 50 forest sites across Tanzania, and has been instrumental in designing and implementing the new IFRI household survey instrument.

For more information, please contact Lauren Persha

Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (SANREM)

This project involves working with our partners in Uganda, Bolivia, Kenya, and Mexico to explore in detail the effects of forest decentralization policies on both forest sustainability and livelihoods. Partners are using both household and community data to understand the on-the-ground effects of the varied measures that are classified as decentralization policies. The project was completed in September 2009.

Adaptations, Institutions, and Development (AID)

The purpose of this project was to analyze how different groups of people cope with and adapt to climate change. Looking at how rural populations have historically met the challenges of environmental risks is a beneficial tool in trying to understand how local institutions will need to react when faced with the imminent climate change taking place today and in the future.

Environmental Institutions, Beliefs, and Actions

This project examines how environmental beliefs of rural residents in Himachal Pradesh in India changed as a result of the creation of new institutions in their villages. The research is based on three rounds of data collection in 2006, 2009, and 2011.