Drafting Community Forestry Agreements: From Negotiation to Signature – A Practitioner’s View
Kenneth L. Rosenbaum, FAO Legal Paper Online 86, 2011

This paper is a guide to designing and drafting community forestry contracts. These legal documents underlie many community forestry development projects. In forest management projects, governments and businesses can collaborate with communities in several ways, including through consultation, commercial transactions, and recognition of rights. Consultation might involve seeking community opinion or even approval of plans and priorities. Commercial transactions might include hiring local workers, buying local forest products or environmental services, patronizing local businesses, or leasing local land. Recognition of rights might involve honoring traditional forest access, granting communities formal title or rights to use forestland, accepting legally enforceable obligations to manage land for the benefit of the community, or returning some of the income from the land to the community. Many projects embrace two or three kinds of collaboration. Collaboration with local communities is increasing. Sometimes the goal is to bring local knowledge, skills, and assets to the service of forest stewardship. Sometimes it is to provide traditional or equitable access to forest resources. Sometimes the goal is to promote rural economic development. Sometimes it is simply to make a profit from the forest in the most practical way available. To avoid problems, partners often lay out the project in legal documents, such as contracts. Contracts can define the project and protect the rights of all involved. If done well, the process of negotiating the contracts can also help the sides better understand their roles, align their expectations, and promote a smoother implementation of the project. Download the paper [pdf] … View all the FAO Legal Papers online …