The International Forestry Resources and Institutes (IFRI) network, founded by Elinor Ostrom, is a unique effort involving social and natural scientists working on the use, management, and governance of tropical forests by local communities. IFRI researchers have collected original field data on social and ecological variables from 243 tropical forest sites in East Africa, Latin America, and south Asia. They draw on this unique database to synthesize information on biodiversity, carbon, and livelihood outcomes in each site, and the factors associated with variations in these outcomes.
This Venture seeks to bring together IFRI and other researchers working on forest social-ecological systems to advance the understanding of:
- how local communities use and govern their forests,
- the factors that explain broad patterns of community forest use and governance, and
- how institutional and ecological factors combine across multiple contexts to yield different patterns of outcomes.
The Venture will substantially improve the IFRI database and the capacity of socio-environmental synthesis (SES) researchers worldwide to contribute to actionable science for community-used and governed forests in human-dominated landscapes. The proposed work will be punctuated by three meetings of researchers at SESYNC. The interdisciplinary team of researchers and the proposed meetings will:
- clean, fill gaps in, and consolidate the global IFRI database, significantly increasing the number of cases with complete information and augmenting the analytical utility of the dataset,
- advance the analysis for eight research papers that examine and explain effective governance of community forests,
- begin discussions to integrate new household-level data into the IFRI database, and
- refine IFRI’s data-collection tools and define the network’s future aims and directions.
The final product from the Venture will be a set of 8-10 research papers based on cross-national data that will illuminate critical areas of needed research on forest social ecological systems.