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Global Overview

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ASB is the only global partnership devoted entirely to research on the tropical forest margins

The ASB Partnership conducts research at benchmark sites which span the humid tropics in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Currently there are active research projects in four countries Cameroon Indonesia, Peru, and Vietnam. Previous projects have also focused on Brazil, the Philippines and Thailand. Although the benchmark sites represent similar agro-ecological environments characteristic of the humid tropics, the varying socio-economic and political conditions found at each site make for valuable comparative analyses and cross-site learning. ASB partners at each site use participatory methods to understand land users’ problems and evaluate opportunities for alleviating them. They also engage in dialogue with local and national policy makers to explore their perceptions of needs. The aim is to develop innovations that will resolve conflicts over resources and promote their more sustainable and productive use. These innovations may be policies, institutional reforms or technologies—or more often a combination of the three.




Natural forest remnants on the road to Brazil, Madre de Dios province, Peru
ASB research in the western Amazon focuses on the causes and consequences of smallholder slash-and-burn agriculture, drawing upon studies from benchmark sites in Brazil and Peru.

The Amazon Basin, an area of approximately 7.5 million km2 that covers over 40% of the South American continent, and is home to the world's largest remaining tracts of tropical rainforests. A habitat to the world's largest annual loss of tropical forests as increasing areas of forest are converted each year to make way for agricultural, cattle-ranching and logging activities.

ASB currently works in Peru and has also worked in Brazil to identify and develop land-use options that can improve the livelihoods of rural families while preserving the Amazon's remaining forests.

As the main vehicle for ASB activities in the region, ASB has partnered with the Amazon Initiative. 


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Congo Basin

 Congo Basin

In Central Africa, ASB research efforts focus on slash-and-burn

Local marketplace: Kaya watershed, Cameroon

agriculture in the 6 countries of the Congo Basin (Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo) whose borders encompass the world's second largest contiguous rainforest. Unlike in Southeast Asia and the Amazon, where large-scale  agricultural operations are important, most deforestation in the Congo Basin is attributed to smallholder farmers using extensive slash-and-burn techniques.

Collaborative research with farmers conducted by members of ASB's National Consortium in Cameroon  identifies and develops policy, institutional, and technological land-use options that can improve rural livelihoods while preserving the country's remaining forests.

Land uses identified in the ASB Matrix analysis for Cameroon are the focus of the Sustainable Tree Crops Programme in West and Central Africa.



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South East Asia

Southeast Asia

Landscape in Lantapan, Philippines

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). ASB's National Consortia in Indonesia, the Philippines , and Thailand aim to identify alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture by providing 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.

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.


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