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18 March 2021

Impacts of the pandemic on forest communities and forest resource use

What do we know, what do we need to know and how to find out?

Photo: Ton Rath (Tenure Facility) ©

Read the news story related to this event

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives around the world, with significant implications for forest use and management. In many countries, sudden lockdowns spurred widespread urban to rural “reverse” migration, while negative economic impacts have brought great hardships for many rural populations. Both trends are likely to increase pressure on forests, which have long served as a critical safety net for rural populations in times of distress.

At the same time, moments of great upheaval can present valuable opportunities for change, and many have argued that forests have a critical role in the “green recovery” from COVID-19 and beyond. To date, however, there is no consensus about what a green recovery might entail or about the role of forests and forest communities in realizing these objectives.

The pandemic and its direct and indirect effects are still evolving, and actors in research, policy and practice are mapping and analyzing this development to provide recommendations for short and long-term responses. In this process, dialogue and collaboration between actors working at different levels with these issues are crucial. And considering the rights of forest communities and indigenous people while including their voice will be vital for the success of these efforts.

To facilitate global knowledge exchange and sow the seeds for further joint action, Focali and SIANI now call for knowledge and narratives on current developments and search for answers to questions that need more focus ahead in research, policy and practice. The incoming suggestions will serve as a basis for the first dialogue in the Focali – SIANI dialogue forum and continued exchange.

This event will be held in English with simultaneous translation to Spanish. Puede encontrar información sobre este evento en español al final de esta página.

You can contribute in several ways:

1. Suggest who to involve in the Focali – SIANI dialogues on these themes (as speakers or participants)

2. Contribute to the narrative and knowledge mapping by submitting contributions and references

3. Participate in this first dialogue and share your views and suggestions for continued exchange

4. Share this invitation to actors with a focus on these themes


13:30 Welcome and introduction
13:40 What do we know about forests, livelihoods and the pandemic?

Speed-talks and Q&A with the speakers

Introduction of the report “Rolling back social and environmental safeguards in the time of COVID-19 – The dangers for indigenous peoples and for tropical forests”, Caroline de Jong, policy advisor, Environmental Governance Programme, Forest Peoples Programme

Ricardo Camilo Niño Izquierdo, Technical Secretary of the Indigenous Secretariat of the National Commission for Indigenous Territories of Colombia, Magister en Desarrollo Rural – Universidad Javeriana, author of the Colombia chapter in Rollback report

Ms. Keyla Barrero, co-author of the Peru Rollback report and anthropologist from the National University of San Marcos of Peru

COVID-19 and the dynamism of policies, social protection and local communities in forestry sector in Asia, Kalpana Giri, Senior Program Officer, RECOFT and lead author of UNFF assessment for Asia – Pacific states

14:10 Open platform for sharing – What do you see from your horizon?

14.25 Emerging lessons for community resilience and “green recovery”

Speed-talks and Q&A with the speakers

Reflection on behalf of Wild foods, Biodiversity and Livelihoods Network SIANI expert group, Denise Margaret Matias research scientist, unit for Biodiversity and People at ISOE

The Role of Forests in a “Green Recovery” from the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, Alark Saxena, Assistant Professor, Human Dimensions of Forestry, School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University

COVID-19 Pandemic and Agroecosystem Resilience: Early Insights for Building Better Futures, Sustainable Landscapes & Integrated Climate Actions, Lalisa A. Duguma, Researcher ICRAF Nairobi

Covid-19 Pandemic and community land/forest rights formalization process:  learning from community resilience strategy, Raymond Achu Samndong, Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Reporting Manager, The Tenure Facility

15:00 Break


15:10 What do we need to know and how can we collaborate to find out?
Opening conversation with speakers including: Avijit Chatterjee, Project Specialist Forest Governance, Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

Group discussions (8-10 people/group during 25 minutes)
Reporting back and sharing ideas for collaboration ahead


15:55 Closing reflection
Anne Larson, Principal Scientist and Team Leader: Equity, Gender, Justice & Tenure, CIFOR-ICRAF


Moderators during the event:
Maria Ölund, Focali – SIANI Project manager at GMV
Harry Fischer, Focalimember and Associate Senior Lecturer at SLU
Jesica Lopes, Focalimember and Researcher at CEC – LU

This is the first dialogue in the Focali – SIANI Dialogue Forum series, a new initiative for multi-stakeholder exchange and joint action on the interlinked forests, biodiversity and livelihood issues. More information on how you can contribute to the initiative and information about the upcoming dialogues will follow shortly on SIANI and Focali websites.

This event will be held in English with simultaneous translation to Spanish. 


From 18 March 2021 at 13:30 to 18 March 2021 at 16:00



Hosted by

Maria Ölund, Project Manager, Focali - SIANI:


Objectives of the dialogue:

This dialogue aims to facilitate an open platform where different perspectives on emerging developments in this area can be shared, and knowledge gaps or ideas for joint action can be identified. With this dialogue, follow up interactions and communication, we aim to contribute with knowledge and perspectives to the following questions:

– How has COVID-19 impacted forest use and management around the world and its role as a safety net for rural poor?

– What is the role of forests in the uncertain times of COVID-19, recovery processes and the coupled challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss?

– What knowledge gaps exist that actors in research, policy and practice need to find out more about to respond to the needs of forest communities and the role of forests in recovery processes?

We particularly invite actors who focus on these questions in their work. You are welcome to participate in the dialogue and share your knowledge and experience from different contexts, as well as your interests to collaborate within this thematic area for follow-up interactions. In addition, we hope that some participants will be interested to continue the exchange and contribute to a broader representation in knowledge and policy development on this topic.