Linking Adaptation and Mitigation through Community Forestry: Asia

Submitted by Michael Rastall | published 15th Aug 2012 | last updated 5th Jan 2023
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This project focuses on the linkages between mitigation and adaptation in community forestry contexts. In keeping with the IPCC, we argue that neither mitigation nor adaptation measures alone are sufficient to respond to climate change impacts and that greater attention to the inter-relationships, synergies, and trade-offs between them are required (IPCC, 2007). While forests have largely been overlooked in climate change adaptation discussions, this has recently been changing. The five case studies give insights into how and why adaptation considerations must be integrated within forest-based mitigation efforts such as REDD+.


The methodology for the case studies was qualitative and exploratory. There was a deliberate capacity building element to the study as local partner institutions and national researchers were sought out and engaged.

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methodologies facilitated the collection, presentation, and analysis of the data with rural community members.

Research questions that directed the focus group discussions and interviews generally addressed:

  1. What have been the physical changes in the local environment over the recent past?
  2. What have been the impacts of any such changes on local communities and their livelihoods?
  3. What are the sustainable livelihood assets possessed by the community, particularly linked to forests, which might contribute to adaptive capacity?
  4. ƒƒHow are community forestry management strategies contributing to adaptation and mitigation needs?
  5. ƒƒHow are forest management strategies, including mitigation initiatives, potentially adversely impacting the adaptive capacity of local communities?

The research and publication of these case studies was funded by the Climate Knowledge Development Network (CDKN), REDD-net, Adaptation Knowledge Platform, and Raks Thai Foundation (CARE Thailand). The following organizations assisted the study: the Cambodia Rural Development Team (CRDT), CARE Vietnam, CARE Nepal, Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry Vietnam, Lembaga Alam Tropika Indonesia (LATIN), and Raks Thai Foundation (CARE Thailand).

Adaptation challenges

Restrictions on adaptive capacity through forest management plans or REDD+ project design. Increased awareness of linkages between mitigation and adaptation will be key to overcoming these challenges.

What worked well and what was a barrier?

Generally it was observed that documentation of perceived climate change impacts has both risks and benefits. In particular, as the documentation of site-level climate change impacts is still in early stages, impacts must be qualified and often cannot be attributed directly to climate change. However, community experiences and perceptions can offer valuable information and directions for further research and provide a first step in beginning to draw out the linkages among forest use, local communities, and environmental stress.

Key messages

The case studies provide important lessons on the role of community forestry in Asia in contributing to both climate change adaptation and mitigation needs. The cases provide glimpses into the various ways community forestry supports community resilience not only through the sustainable management of natural resources, but also through the enhancement of social and human capital. They also offer valuable lessons on community uses and management of forests in a variety of contexts and the complex interplay between local livelihoods and the physical environment. Finally, in addition to the positive contributions, the case studies highlight potential trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation objectives, and local livelihoods and development needs; recommendations are made on how to address these issues.

Case studies

5 locations:

Ban Huay Win, Nan Province, Thailand;

Meru Betiri National Park, Indonesia;

Dhanusa, Nepal;

Da Loc Commune, Vietnam;

Seima Protected Forest, Cambodia