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Transforming Mountain Forestry


Dehradun, India

Date & Time

18 January 2015 to 22 January 2015

Rajan Kotru, Manfred Seebauer, Padam Parkash Bhojvaid

Co-organized by

Supporting organisations:

Forests cover about 25% of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH). They interface with numerous ecosystems, providing an invaluable range of ecosystem services: they sequester carbon and are the source of livelihoods, recreation, and timber and non-timber resources for millions of people. The ecosystem goods and services from forests sustain mountain agriculture, which is an integral part of ensuring food water and energy security in the context of transboundary socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural linkages of the HKH region. Since the 2007 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Bali and the 2008 World Forestry Congress, the paramount role of forests in promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation has found global resonance, particularly in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The health and vitality of many forest ecosystems have already been affected by climatic and land use changes; it is possible that the impact of the latter may outweigh the former.

To sustain forest services in the context of climate change and other contemporary issues, stakeholders in the Hindu Kush Himalayas must consolidate current assessments of future challenges and opportunities and build a case for sustainable and inclusive forest management that brings together practice, policy, and science. Given the range of issues related to forest governance that have upstream-downstream linkages (e.g. illegal trade of forest products, corridor connectivity, human-wildlife conflicts, water management, value chain sustainability), this is increasingly a subject for transboundary cooperation in terms of making future mitigation and adaptation strategies successful.

The Mountain Forestry Symposium will provide a forum for over 200 regional and global experts – including crosssectoral policy makers, scientists, practitioners, donors, civil servants, media, market actors, and legal experts – to outline the way forward. The conference will include highlevel representation from all of the mountain states of India, as well as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and other key ministries. All eight countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas, as well as key global mountain forestry centres, will be represented as well.


The main objective of this proposed symposium is to identify sustainable forest management practices and policies that can address the changing conditions in the HKH and propose a way to meet the current challenges in the mountain forest sector by addressing conservation and inclusive development simultaneously.

Specific Objectives

  • Establish common understanding of forest ecosystem dynamics and the management of mountain forest ecosystems in the Hindu Kush Himalayas to set the research and development agenda at the transbounary scale.
  • Share good practices in forest ecosystem adaptation and learn from other mountain regions
  • Explore options for mainstreaming incentive-based mechanisms (e.g. REDD+, payment for ecosystem services) to promote the sustainable use of forest ecosystem services across transboundary landscapes
  • Identify policy deficits and propose priority actions for mainstreaming inclusive forest ecosystem adaptation and good forest governance at the transboundary landscape level to address climate change and globalization processes
  • Promote global, regional, and national knowledge networking, research and development, partnerships, and cooperation for influencing policy, science and practice.
The symposium aims to develop a common understanding of the status of mountain forests of the HKH and explore and consolidate policies, strategies, research and practices that can help the HKH strengthen the role of forest sector in addressing conservation and development issues of the region.
Outcomes for ICIMOD’s Regional Transboundary Landscape Programme
As this is the first ever mountain-specific forestry symposium in the HKH, ICIMOD will get the credit for bringing relevant issues of forest development to the regional forums (such as SAARC, World Forums of ISCO, IUFRO, WFC).
  • The first impact-based partnership in the forest sector of the HKH will further increase ICIMOD’s profile and visibility.
  • Lessons learnt about policy, science and practice can help promote ownership for upscaling/outscaling.
  • Regional networking of RMCs on the subject can be initiated.


1. Institutions and governance: Assessing institutional frameworks and their delivery on good forest governance for shaping policy, science, and practice

  • Broadening the stakeholdership for forest governance: What has worked and why in HKH?
  • Institutional complexities and service delivery on policy, practice and science: Did bottom-up reach Top-Down or vice-versa?
  • Institutions and Inclusive governance: Did sustained flow of services reach out to disadvantageous?

2. Forest dynamics and management:Using the science of forest dynamics to improve the management of mountain forests for sustaining services at landscape levels

  • Forest dynamics and the changing climate: Do we have the evidential changes?
  • Forest ecosystems and future: Simulating the changes and projecting the needs of corrective actions
  • Forest Types Classification: Do we need to relook at the “Champion & Seth Classification” why and with what benefits?
  • Updating on the science of forest ecosystem flows in the HKH
  • Charting forest management:  Balancing food-water-energy at the premium of inclusiveness
  • Time to profile the standards of forest management: Scoping the forest certification once for all
  • Bridging sustainable forest management and ecosystem flows and the recurrent caveats:
    • Measuring the merits and demerits of the “Ban” of green felling
    • Taming the forest fire, Once for All”
    • Settling the human-wildlife conflicts or live with it
    • Countering the invasion of invasive plants
    • Managing for goods and services
    • Forests and “Biodiversity Agenda”

3. Linking incentives to stewardship: Using forest valuation science to bring new incentives for sustained stewardship of mountain forests

  • Mathematics of forest ecosystems service flows: Profiling the valuation methodologies for valuing the services
  • Growing and eating forest carbon: Does REDD+ deliver the undelivered?
  • Sharing the forest booty: The enigma of equitable access and benefit sharing vs. tenure security trauma

4. From subsistence to regional markets: Identifying opportunities to link value-added forest goods and services and forest technologies to certified markets and enterprises at landscape levels

5. Forestry knowledge forums and regional cooperation for policy, practice, and science: Promoting options for actions in transboundary forest ecosystem management by interfacing national and regional policies, practices, research, and knowledge networks


  • Keynote sessions
  • Parallel thematic presentations and panel discussions
  • Live streaming coverage
  • Output-oriented brainstorming sessions (for example on green felling ban, human-wildlife conflicts, role of remote sensing science, forest engineering, etc.)


The Mountain Forestry Symposium is pleased to have the support of:

Dr David Molden
Director General

Dr SS Garbyal
Director General
Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change
Government of India

Dr Ashwini Kumar
Director General
Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education.

Press release
Symposium calls for Transboundary Cooperation in ‘Transforming Mountain Forestry’

Symposium presents blueprint for third generation perspectives on transboundary cooperation

[Media information | Conference programme and speakers |