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FLARE at FIVE: Forests and Livelihoods in Future

by VanNguyen, FTViet

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - The FLARE (Forests and Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement) network, supported by DFID and coordinated from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan (USA) held the 5th annual meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan on 23-25 August, 2019. The meeting covered many new research and discussions in the field of forests and livelihoods. The event was also the important time for reflecting on the last five years of FLARE meetings and the ways forward in future.

Forests & Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement (FLARE) network aims to advance the state of knowledge regarding forest-based livelihoods. By bringing together representatives of key stakeholders - donor organizations, environmental and social NGOs, development agencies and research organizations - FLARE builds on and leverage existing expertise and effort to share and advance cutting edge knowledge and conservations on forest-based livelihoods. Ultimately, the goals of FLARE are to generate usable information and methodologies for collecting it; develop, promote and share the findings of the group; and implement such tools, knowledge, and methods to improve monitoring efforts and, ultimately, the efficacy of forest-dependent livelihood interventions around the world.

At the 5th FLARE, the conference covered 13 different themes and divided into 25 plenary sessions and over 110 presentations. They include: (i) Acknowledging Failure: Learning from perverse outcomes and unintended feedbacks; (ii) Beyond the Household: Measuring the impacts of Forest Change on Communities, Economies, and Ecologies; (iii) Environmental Ethnics, Equity, Justice and Activism; (iv) Forests and Livelihoods as Complex Socio-ecological Ecosystems; (v) Forests and Livelihoods in the Context of Rural-Urban Transformations; (vi) Forests and SDGs; (vii) Forest Policy Mixes: Trade-offs and Synergies between Forest management Institutions; (viii) Formality and Informality in Forest-related Livelihoods; (ix) Gender, Forests and Livelihoods; (x) Gender, Forests and Livelihoods; (xi) Monitoring and Evaluation of Forest Policies and Interventions; (xii) Political Instability and Change and (xiii) Sharing Successes in Forest and Livelihood Research and Practice.

In addition, as the FLARE network enters its fifth year of facilitating engagement among researchers, practitioners and decision makers, the round table discussion was held to get critical reflections on how the FLARE community of practices has promoted cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary knowledge sharing and production. Here is some outcomes of the discussions, which led by Prof. Arun Agarwal, related to new perspectives, ideas, theories, or data; networking and partnerships; or other avenues of engagement and support.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hai Van, PhD Student under FTViet project, participated and provided the presentation on "Land Hungers: The clash over rights to forestland and acacia plantation livelihood in the Upland Central Vietnam", under session 15 on Forests, Landscapes and Restoration. It is one of initial results of her PhD research on examining the transformation of forest landscape spaces and local livelihoods in Upland Central Vietnam over the past few decades, and in particular their intersection with layer upon layer of forest related policy and project interventions.

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