Green Value Tool Training: Setting Community Forestry Concessions Up For Success

Green Value Tool Training: Setting Community Forestry Concessions Up For Success

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the 2014 Community Forestry Decree enables communities to obtain formal rights to manage forest concessions for a range of uses. Given that this decree is quite recent, there are still a number of uncertainties around implementation of it. One important aspect that has not yet been fully considered in initial activities is the economic and benefit-sharing models of these concessions to ensure sustainable community benefits. Without sustainable benefits, establishment and management of these concessions risk relying on time-bound donor funding. A better understanding of the financial viability and income generation potential of different concession-based activities is needed not only to determine which activities are and are not economically feasible, but also to inform the broader community forestry discussion and ensure realistic expectations of community concessions.

Participants discuss case-studies during the workshop. Photo courtesy of Olivia Freeman, U.S. Forest Service International Programs

To address this current gap, the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, supported by USAID’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, organized an introductory training to introduce a financial analysis approach to evaluate economic potential of various community forestry concession activities. Seventeen participants from local and international non-governmental organizations attended the training, which focused on the practical application of the Green Value Tool, a tool for simplified financial analysis of forest-based initiatives.

Dr. Shoana Humphries (second from right), introduces participants to the Green Value Tool. Photo courtesy of Vanessa Filippini, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

Participants spent three days learning about the tool and its application from Dr. Shoana Humphries, co-creator of the Green Value Tool. During this workshop participants got hands-on experience working through several case studies which used real-life examples from their organizations. Participants used the six-step approach to compare costs, revenue and rates of return in three scenarios: a mushroom cooperative, an artisanal logging association, and an agroforestry organization. They gained a new business-oriented perspective and were able to reflect on how they can use the tool in their future work. This workshop served as an introduction to a new tool to help better understand and assess the financial viability of different community forestry activities, with the hope that more consideration will now be placed on the long-term economic sustainability of these types of initiatives.

Workshop participants pose for a celebratory photo three days of hard work. Photo courtesy of Vanessa Filippini, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

The Green Value Tool was developed through support from the U.S. Forest Service’s International Programs and USAID from 2007. The tool was developed to help small and medium enterprises monitor and evaluate costs and income, negotiate fair prices, improve their financial management and transparency, and strengthen the sustainability of their businesses. Original application of the tool was in Brazil for assessing community timber enterprises. Since then, trainings on the use of the tool have been facilitated in several countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America including successful application for initiatives selling a variety of products and services, such as Brazil nuts, agricultural products, wild fisheries, restoration activities, crafts, tourism, and carbon credits. The U.S. Forest Service will continue to support initiatives which help countries find ways to more sustainably manage their natural resources.

Click here to learn more about the Green Value Tool. 

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