Rights to forests and their multiple meanings

Deforestation continues to be one of the most pressing global and local environmental issues. With forests we lose entire species, landscapes and natural habitats. Particularly in the South, logging threatens not only nature but also human cultures and ways of living. The fastest advancement of deforestation takes place in Indonesia. The figures vary, but even as much as one million hectares of forest may be lost every year. 

The struggles forest communities lead for their forests do not concern only natural values but also rights to livelihood, way of living and culture. The problems faced by the persecuted forest communities are hardly marginal. In Laos, for example, the majority of the population still lives in subsistence economy in which forests and their produce play an important role. In India, the forest-dwelling Adivasi people are a minority group, but hardly a small one; the forest question directly affects approximately 90 million Adivasis. In Indonesia, the lives of 80-95 million people are directly linked to forests. 

Forest communities often face the problem of being themselves blamed for the disappearance of forests. For example, crop-rotation farmers in the mountain regions of India and Southeast Asia have been branded as forest destroyers even though it has only been under pressure from industrial agriculture and large-scale logging that the farmers have been forced to resort to less sustainable uses of land.

The Siemenpuu Foundation advocates environmentally and socially equitable use of forests. Equally crucial is supporting the efforts of indigenous peoples and other forest communities.

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On the International Day of Forests, 21 March 2017, Siemenpuu Foundation and around 200 other civil society organizations around the world called on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO to revise its forest definition, which has been in use since 1948.



Forest fires Indonesia continue to burn on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and are on track to release more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire US economy this year. Today, a coalition of Indonesian NGOs today sent an open letter to the government and to international buyers of pulp and paper and palm oil from Indonesia.


PETER KITELO comes from Kenya. His community lives in Mt. Elgon forest, about 3000 metres from the sea level. The forest is indigenous mountainous forest that transforms into  moorland when reaching the top.


Thoughts about people, land & identity


"While the forest is not ours, we're still fighting for it."

Peter Kitelo comes from Kenya, and he's saying out loud what many must be thinking. Kitelo represents the ogiek community of Mt. Elgon forest. The people do not own the land where they have been living for generations. But the land is all they have, which makes them conserve it.

CBD COP 2014: Mainstreaming Biodiversity… Biodiversity Policy?


Perhaps it was because the freezing temperatures in the negotiation rooms cooled the tempers of certain countries, but the 12th Conference of the Parties of the Biodiversity Convention succeeded to adopt a wide range of decisions in a remarkably smooth way. Even a polemic issue like the need to apply the precautionary principle to synthetic biology as a new risky technology was resolved before the final hours of the conference.

CBD COP 2014: The Pyeongchang Roadmap to Destruction


Today is the day when the Ministers will join us, having wasted a significant amount of CO2, money and travel time to join us busy biodiversity bees here in The Big Fridge. Of course they are welcome, but it is a bit unclear what these high-level people are actually going to do in Pyeongchang, except for listening to yet another select group of Friends of the Secretariat who will tell them how to conserve biodiversity.