Forest and Land Use Planning

Forest and Land Use Planning and  Management

We are in an era of rapid ecological, social, and economic change, which increases in pressure on agro-biodiversity in natural and farming ecosystems. In the Lao PDR, the transition from subsistence and small scale cash-farming to a mono-culture based market economy is particularly fast-moving and threatens not only agro-biodiversity resources but also the livelihood base of many rural families.

In recent years, the policy of the Government of Laos to turn land into capital to fuel development has brought challenges to equitable and sustainable development. On the one hand, it provides an opportunity for rapid large-scale development to bring the country out of Least Developed Country Status. On the other, it may prove unsustainable in some cases, leading to land degradation, land alienation, exacerbated poverty, increased income disparity and heightened food insecurity.

These rapid changes make effective Participatory Forest and Land Use Planning, Allocation and Management (FALUPAM) crucially important, especially in the uplands. While forest and land use planning has been implemented in Laos for several decades now, it faces major challenges posed by complex land use histories, the difficult geography in the uplands, a wide range of GoL policies, and the burgeoning demand for land (and mining and hydropower) by regional mega-businesses.

Against this background, TABI has developed an approach and methodology for forest and land use planning which is based on a systematic understanding and mapping of the current forest and land use and socio economy,  and planning based on a realistic potential, i.e., real participatory methods. This approach aims to ensure more realistic and effective resource planning, local empowerment and monitoring of forest and land use.

 The approach developed is termed Participatory Forest and Agriculture Land Use Planning Allocation and Management, or pFALUPAM. The process, and the mapping as part of this process, is based on series of inter-related and harmonized field- and office-based worksteps which seek to (i) effectively integrate current village-land use and livelihoods, and indigenous knowledge, and (ii) promote land zonation and management which is realistic, and ABD and villager friendly.

Key elements of the FALUPAM process

A:  Taking time, and making repeated visits and workshops with villages:

  • working with villagers to develop geo-maps of their landscapes is a crucial, often overlooked, 1st step 
  • mapping and understanding current land use and forest cover is essential – but very difficult to do without discipline, thought, an eye for detail and listening to villagers;
  • 10 sets of data are gathered - at group and some household level, and used for a range of purposes.

B:  Working in villages clusters

Where possible, TABI promotes working with the GoLs village cluster. This approach allows for repeated visits to villages.

This system does not take more time, per village (than the 1 village approach), but leads to great efficiencies in budget, technical skills application and results.

C:  Full use of detailed satellite imagery and aerials photos, with villagers.

D:  Creative yet disciplined GIS protocols, to eventually develop a national GIS system.

E:  Development of detailed forest and land class systems - now accepted by the bulk of  projects and GoL agencies.


Forest and Land Use Planning Platform

Within the TABi project the online Forest and Land Use Planning (LUP) Platform was developed. It is a web-portal which acts as a platform for the various actors in rural village level land use planning to share their data, maps, village agreement, manuals and other documents.

Access the Forest and Land Use Planning Platform


   Further Information

   » Forest and Land Use Planning Photos

   » Forests Subprojects

   » Knowledge Base


FALUPAM Presentations

The following presentations give more information and insight into various aspects of the  FALUPAM process. 

Participatory Forest and Land Use Planning Summary (English PDF 478 KB)
Land Use Planning and Land Tenure in Laos (English PDF 5.79 MB)
Stabilisation of Land Use and Upland Development (English PDF 3.39 MB)
The pFALUPAM Process - Key Elements (English PDF 2.87 MB)