May 2009 | International Conference on Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise

This workshop showcased research and analyses of ATEMs by RRI partners and collaborators. Below are some relevant documents.

Fact Sheet on Small Forest Enterprises in Africa

August 2008 | Workshop for the Restitution of ATEMs Research Findings

This workshop provided an opportunity for authors of ATEMs research to share their new knowledge and experiences at a national level, promoting discussion about alternative tenure and enterprise models for Cameroon.

Community-Based Forest Enterprises in Tropical Forest Countries: Status and Potential

Augusta Molnar, Megan Liddle, Carina Bracer, Arvind Khare, Andy White, Justin Bull


ATEMs - Alternative Tenure and Enterprise Models

The Alternative Tenure and Enterprise Models (ATEMs) work of RRI aims to identify and promote alternative models of forest ownership and management. The goal is to provide guidance and lessons for decision-makers to encourage them to strengthen the tenure and access rights for forest communities and level the playing field for small and medium forest enterprise (including community enterprise.)


Particularly in the forest sectors of Central and West Africa, the export-oriented timber concession model is the dominant business model. While such concessions have clearly played a long-standing role in the development of forest industry in these regions, they provide limited opportunity for local communities and to date have not significantly contributed to most communities’ wealth, employment or livelihoods. The social and ecological sustainability of these models is widely questioned. Moreover, these models have eroded the customary access and tenure rights of forest communities and indigenous peoples. Unrecognized legal tenure, access and civil rights for the communities who live near forest concessions makes it difficult for these people to legitimately gather forest products for traditional subsistence and alternative enterprise.

Alternatives to this industrial timber-export model exist. However, their spread and development in many areas has been hampered by a lack of knowledge about the alternatives. In many places, advocates from the public and private sector have found it difficult to envision alternate tenure and enterprise scenarios, especially ones that are suited to their particular economy, history, culture and society.

Activities in Central and West Africa

Country-level case studies

Researchers from RRI Partner and Collaborator organizations are carrying out detailed case studies of community forest enterprises in local contexts. These studies are analyzing examples from: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Gambia, Ghana, and Rwanda. This work is also linked to landscape initiatives in the IUCN Landscapes and Livelihoods program, governance research coordinated by CIFOR, and work underway in Intercooperation and FAO.

Briefs adapted from country-level case studies:

Burkina Faso: Amélioration de l'équité et des moyens de subsistance dans la foresterie communautaire au Burkina Faso

Cameroon: Alternate Tenure and Enterprise Models in Cameroon: Community Forests in the Context of Community Rights and Forest Landscapes

The Gambia: Alternative Tenure and Enterprise Models

Ghana (1): Alternative Tenure and Enterprise Models in Ghana

Ghana (2): Alternative Tenure and Enterprises in Ghana

Liberia: Pit-Sawing Operations in River Cess County, Liberia: Promising Models for Small-Scale Forest Enterprises

International comparative case studies

There is also great potential in sharing the lessons and experiences from countries where there has been progress in implementing alternative models of tenure and enterprise. RRI is also working to create networks of community leaders who can learn from these experiences and share these lessons with community groups and civil society networks at home. African forest enterprise leaders have traveled community forests in highland Guatemala, First Nation companies in British Colombia, Canada, and to forest cooperatives owned by families and communities in Sweden. Participants in these exchanges are producing reports to document their experiences.

Comparative study of social dimensions of ATEMs in Central and West Africa:

Social Policies of Forest Concessionaries in West and Central Africa

Briefs adapted from international comparative case studies:

British Columbia, Canada: Gestion des ressources communautaires forestières en Colombie Britannique, Canada: Le cas des premières nations

Guatemala: Etudes des Cas sur les Modèles Alternatives de Propriété Foncière et Entreprises Forestières

Activities in Bolivia