Biodiversity and Livelihoods

The tropical forests of the developing world contain vital resources for many of the communities living in or near to them. For these people, often affected by poverty and living at a basic subsistence level, the forests can provide a rich array of products, ranging from bushmeat, medicinal plants to firewood, which can enhance agricultural livelihoods with further sources of food and medicines, or can be goods to be sold at markets for additional sources of revenue. The dependency of these communities on these resources requires that sustainable practices need to be maintained or developed, and external pressures that threaten the access to and use of these resources by communities need to be addressed.

The Biodiversity Platform seeks to understand the relationships between people and biodiversity and use this information to assist communities with the sustainable use of forest products. Utilizing the scientific expertise of the Platform, the threshold levels of forest resources can be identified which can provide local communities with the scientific knowledge base to develop, or enhance their existing, sustainable use practices.

The Platform promotes research that investigates the market demand and strategies for the selling of forest products, information in turn which should be provided to the communities that the Platform works with. In working with communities to develop or enhance their sustainable use strategies, the institutional and regulatory frameworks that govern the use of natural resources will be addressed.

Often local knowledge is not included in customary or state regulatory frameworks, and may lead to conflicts over rights to access and use these resources, or alternatively, create the conditions for unsustainable use. The Platform will support negotiations between local communities and government institutions to incorporate local knowledge and sustainable use strategies into regulatory frameworks.

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