CSEAS Colloquium: Promoting private sector investment in forest restoration in South East Asia

Time: 16:00-17:00
Date: July 25th 2019
Place: Medium sized conference room

Title: Promoting private sector investment in forest restoration in South East Asia
Speaker: Professor Rod Keenan, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Visiting Scholar (CSEAS)

Global goals for forest restoration aim to restore landscape function through a mix of forest conservation, re-establishment of forests, and productive uses of trees. For example: the Sydney Declaration, adopted at the 15th APEC meeting in 2007, set a goal of increasing forest cover by 20 million hectares by 2020; he Bonn Challenge aims to restore 350 million hectares by 2030; and the UN General Assembly recently declared 2020-2030 the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Achieving these goals can generate carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, water quality, spiritual, cultural and economic benefits. Increasing forest cover can also help communities adapt to climate change.
South East Asia has an estimated 110 million hectares of degraded forest, 60 percent of the total forest area. A few countries, like Vietnam, have experienced a transition from forest loss to increased forest cover while in others the need to restore forest cover, and associated ecological functions, continues. However, there are differing views on the processes, actors, and desirable end-points, for restoration. Climate finance may support forest restoration, but there are clear limits to this type of public finance. Many are now looking to the private sector investment to achieve restoration at the required scale, including larger-scale corporates, small-scale individual forest owners, and community-based enterprises.
This seminar will provide an overview of restoration challenges in the region and the locations, and potential models, for private sector investment. Using examples from recent research in Lao PDR and Vietnam, and from other locations, it will consider constraints to private sector investment, such as lack of clarity on land tenure, cumbersome regulatory and approval processes for tree growing, and local community conflicts. It will consider potential future options for restoration investment in different parts of the landscape and opportunities for blending public and private sector finance for a varying mix of wood production, forest ecosystem services, conservation and other environmental outcomes.

Rod Keenan has been Professor and Chair of Forest and Ecosystem Sciences at the University of Melbourne since 2005. He graduated with a B. Sc. (Forestry) from the ANU and a PhD in forest ecology from University of British Columbia. He has research interests in sustainable forest management, forests and climate change, ecosystem services and forest policy. He has worked across Australia, in Canada, Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. From 2009-14 he was Director of the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research and was a member of the UN-FAO Advisory Group for the Global Forest Resource Assessment from 2003 to 2015. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Center for South East Asia Studies at Kyoto University.