Joint Forest Management (JFM) approach

Published: 24 July 2018
Last edited: 31 July 2019

Joint Forest Management (JFM) is a participatory forest management approach that allows the local population – either individuals or groups – to become involved in forest management and support the rehabilitation of degraded natural forests over the long term. These individuals sign a contract for the land use rights with the State Forest Enterprises for a period of 20 years, with the possibility for prolongation. This encourages the tenants to sustainably manage and rehabilitate their forest plot of usually 1-2 ha in size. In addition to the contract, management and annual plans serve as tools for forest management planning and for the monitoring of activities and results. They are developed jointly by the State Forest Enterprises and the respective tenant for each individual plot. Typical tasks specified in the annual plan are measures to protect the plot from livestock grazing, planting of trees, harvesting and pruning. Further, the annual plan specifies the harvest shares of the State Forest Enterprises and the forest tenant according to a fair sharing principle defined in the contract. The management plan, developed, for a 5 year period, specifies long-term goals, such as the installation of an irrigation channel or the diversification of the forest plot. 


Management planning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase

Enabling factors

While land use rights in Tajikistan are typically given for a short period (usually for one single season), the 20-year contract with the State Forest Enterprises enables the tenant to develop a long-term forest management plan. The joint forest management approach has been first introduced in Tajikistan in 2006 and ever since gained in reputation. In 2011, the approach was formalized and anchored in the national forest code.

Lessons learned

The experience has shown that for the introduction of JFM the support by external facilitators (e.g. field staff or a local NGO) is indispensable. Both contracting parties, forest tenant and State Forest Enterprise, need to have a clear understanding of their rights, rules, and obligations. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have experienced and skilled facilitators present in the field, who have a sound understanding of the approach and of the local context. Further, the facilitators need to guide the tenants as well as the staff of the State Forest Enterprises through the process of selecting a forest area, introducing the approach to the communities, selecting forest tenants, delineating the individual plots, concluding the contract, and developing the annual- and management plans. Further, the establishment of forest tenant groups has proven to be successful, especially since, in Tajikistan, community groups are relatively common. Jointly, the forest tenants perform activities such as harvesting, pruning or fencing.