May 25, 2012 — Landesa staff attorney Keliang Zhu and a group of China State Forestry Administration officials carried out fieldwork in five counties in Henan province and Shaanxi province in April 2012. The main objective was to collect feedback from local forestry officials and farmers on a recent policy that aims to preserve China’s forest resources.
The policy bans all types of logging from farmers’ forestland, but the state fails to pay adequate compensation for the loss of the use of the forests and forestland. Overall this program affects more than 35 million hectares of forestland, the bulk of which is located in the low-income interior regions.
While the logging ban has brought about substantial ecological benefits, the affected farmers and communities have been deprived of a major income and livelihood sources. Supported by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), Landesa is working with the State Forestry Administration to revise and improve the compensation standards to affected people. A comprehensive policy recommendation paper will be produced later this year based on this and other rounds of fieldwork as well as international comparative experiences.