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China Land Tenure Reform Project Presents Lessons Learned

FAO EU18 September 2013: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report highlighting the results of a FAO, European Union (EU), and Government of China project on land tenure reform in China.

Implemented with the State Forest Administration (SFA), the project achieved, by 2011, the issuance of certificates for 144 million hectares of what was previously communal forest, granting 82 million households forestland certificates. Tenure transfers were coordinated through forest tenure trade centers (FTTCs), which now also provide forest market information.

The project encountered three main obstacles: risks of inequitable transfers of tenure rights, difficulties in managing and marketing forest products among smallholders, and the need for knowledge sharing and capacity development. To address these, in addition to FTTCs, the project established pilot forest cooperatives and developed training materials.

Lessons learned from the implementation of the project include: the need to adhere to the principle of ‘one-member, one-vote', the importance of clear rules for decision-making and benefit distribution, and the value of collaboration with other cooperatives. The project also emphasized the importance of forest extension systems and enabling regulatory frameworks. [Publication: Forest Tenure Reform in China – Results and lessons learned from the EU-SFA-FAO China Forest Tenure Project]