Dry landscape, Ethiopia. Foto: @ Camilla Zilo

Theory of Change for LoCoFoRest ITP

LoCoFoRest aims to contribute to systemic change. The term “systemic change” has several definitions in various contexts from industrial design to societal activism. For this ITP we use it to stress that we want to contribute to a radical new perception of FLR implementation.

By working with a broad set of stakeholders for FLR (Forest and Landscape Restoration), this ITP want to change perceptions and spur development by changing approaches.

This change may indeed be a way to simplify the FLR process. Sustainable and scalable forest restoration require incentives for improved livelihood to local people living from the land.

The more common instruments “payment for ecosystem services (PES)”and “REDD+” are taking a more distant perspective, based in already developed regions on what should change in poor rural regions, that ignore or only secondarily can incentivise rural development needs. Only allowing NTFPs from remaining or restored forests is another similar approach exchanging current extensive land-use, like cultivation or livestock, with another with limited chances of leading to more than continued subsistence economy.

PES, REDD+ and NTFP promotion alone has not proven to work well to lift livelihoods significantly but may complement market-oriented approaches to lift rural dwellers out of subsistence. Thus, the systemic change for LoCoFoRest include the following processes:

  • Scalable, local economic development that sustainably counteract the poverty driving deforestation and continued land degradation.
  • Smallholders and local entrepreneurs can be trusted long-term tenure for, or ownership of, larger land lots and to perform sustainable forestry in rural settings, also in larger surrounding land apart from small family land lots.
  • Spurring biobased national economies, giving opportunity to catalyse and connect entrepreneurial spirits of local people with increasing societal demands for wood from urban growth and technological shifts for housing construction.
  • Socially, economic, and ecologically sustainable forestry for wood production is possible, especially by local dwellers that rely on its endurance and continued livelihood supply and improvement.
  • Ecosystem services are better provided from sustainably managed forests than from continuously degrading land.
  • Available and affordable small-scale technology for wood sawing and wood processing for local entrepreneurship in transparent and fair value chains. 

Theory of change


Trainings in systemic understanding of locally controlled forest restoration trough an e-learning platform and an intensive in-situ course. Trainings include prerequisites for, and role of, scalable business opportunities and a transparent wood market for driving forest restoration in organisations for systemic change as well as resulting challenges and opportunities with integrating water and other ecosystem services in forest management. Taking stock in historical and present forest sector development in Sweden, current evidence base on restored and managed forests on economic, social, and environmental development and how local wood production and processing can be promoted to make forest restoration work and to be scalable.

Change Projects by individuals or groups of training participants from more than one relevant organisation. Mentoring is delivered for each change projects from the program resource base and with time increasingly by selected ITP alumni.

Communication and dialogue engaging stakeholders relevant to forest restoration and forest sector development. Throughout training this includes both national stakeholder conferences promoting formulation of change projects and regional workshops for presentation and deliberation of the change project result presentations, as well as systems for communication with course participants and alumni throughout each course. It also involves sharing results and lessons learned to a broader audience.

Programme Management, narrative and financial planning, implementation, successive evaluation, iterative development, and reporting.


  1. Individual and institutional understanding of the opportunities for value creation in FLR and how sustainable economic livelihood aspects of local forestry can support and up-scale improvement of ecosystem services scalable.
  2. Completed change projects on single or multi governance and business aspects of enabling and/or improving support for LoCoFoRest. The change project will serve as inspiring, investigating, testing scalable projects in the participating countries/regions.
  3. Arenas and networks for various stakeholders, interest groups and individuals for interaction within growing forest sectors and forest restoration programs.

Agents of change

A broad set of forest sector stakeholders and interest groups, mirrored in the broad set of invited ITP participants:

  • Government (Ministries, forest/water/agriculture agencies, regional offices etc.)
  • Private sector (Small and medium size business, forest association, entrepreneurs, family business)
  • Civil society (Environmental, rural development, local interest groups, communities, etc.)
  • Academy (Universities, Institutes)
  • Multilateral organizations engaged in FLR (FAO, IUCN, CIFOR, RECOFT etc., in these only some national staff and local coordinators may be eligible for the ITP.)
  • Non-organised farmers, young people and woman in rural areas are additionally some of the most important agents of change.  These cannot be included in the invitations to the ITP, but in the input for this ITP actions to include them in FLR activities will be stressed. For example, some change projects can be focussed on this.


  1. Accumulating understanding and ability to support business opportunities and ecosystem services (ES) interaction with FLR.
  2. Multi-stakeholder activities for LoCoFoRest inside and outside FLR programs. Activities can be a multitude of efforts and enabling elements such as governance (trust building, tenure, gender, equity, transparency and anti-corruption, appendix 3) as well as business incubation and credits for local wood production and processing for growing urban markets. This can for example be done between government bodies, local NGOs and private sector. Other examples can include cooperation for optimising FLR for local and regional water management, between e.g. smallholders, waterworks, NGOs and local/regional governments.
  3. Increasing national and regional interaction around LoCoFoRest in FLR. Accumulating alumni, platforms inside and outside the ITP, good examples from analysis, pilots and scalable business incubation are increasingly setting behavioural change (see below). Iterative learning adds to FLR programs and give feedback to the ongoing ITP.

Behavioural change

  • Governments – Secure/enable long term tenure and user rights for smallholder forestry and promote the establishment of smallholder associations, extension and finance for sustainable forestry and value chain entrepreneurship as well as other sector development (e.g. open statistics and publications of forest cover, production, prices, etc).
  • Civil society – Associations for smallholder producers are established, promoting fair and transparent value chains. Augmenting locally controlled forest restoration for safeguarding of livelihoods and ecosystem services like water, biodiversity, climate change adaptation and mitigation etc.
  • Higher education and research – Securing national competence for socially, economically and ecologically sustainable forest restoration and production. Maintaining and supplying evidence base for livelihoods, and ecosystem services like water, biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as for increased use of wood in housing construction etc.
  • Private sector – Local entrepreneurship, small and medium sized enterprises for processing and finishing to connect wood production with societal needs (markets) for modern wood products, recyclable wood fibre-based products and building material for a transforming construction sector.
  • Smallholders - are increasingly adopting practices of small-scale tree-cultivation and agroforestry for wood production, and thereby increase incomes and achieve a more diverse and resilient economy. Smallholders are aware of interactions between trees, forest and ecosystem services such as water security, and integrate support to ecosystem services in their forest restoration/management plans.
  • Rural young people – are more motivated to take up career in local production trough better economic outcome and improving social and environmental rural development.
  • Rural woman – Can find new roles in changing family economies and among diversifying small-scale businesses.
  • Forest restoration programs – Develop components for local value creation as drivers for program development, sustainability and scalability.
  • All relevant actors - increase multi-stakeholder dialogues and cooperation within nationally developing forest sectors. New regional multilateral networks also support this development and LoCoFoRest within FLR programs and scaling business, market and demand.

Long-term impact

Small holders in low-income countries are trusted to have tenure and capacity to restore and manage forests sustainably for income from the wood resource. Thus, connecting to emerging bio-economical market forces, which is a main driver for FLR and there by securing multiple benefits of increasing forest cover and more trees in the landscape.

  • Last Updated: 7/27/2023