High population densities combined with a declining natural resource base make Southeast Asia a critical region of study for the ASB programme. Southeast Asia has the highest rate of tropical deforestation rate in the world, and the conversion of forests by smallholders, large-scale operators and government-sponsored projects continues to threaten the region's remaining tropical forest areas.
ASB research in the region has been conducted in lowland insular Southeast Asia (on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia; and on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines) and montane mainland Southeast Asia (Northern Thailand) and Vietnam. ASB's National Consortia in Indonesia, the Philippines , Thailand and Vietnam aim to provide viable policy, institutional, and technological land-use options that can improve local livelihoods and preserve the region's remaining forests. Currently, our projects are active in Indonesia and Vietnam.
The World Agroforestry Centre project RUPES (Rewarding the Upland Poor for Environmental Services) was developed out of ASB work on conservation-development tradeoffs and seeks to develop practical ways to address these tradeoffs through targeted participatory research.