Social Forestry in the context of Brunei Darussalam differs from its neighboring Countries. Due to no or insignificant forest dwellers, activities implemented related to social forestry are more of Forestry Extension initiatives. In general, the activities implemented related to Social Forestry are with the objectives of generating awareness and sense of love towards nature among the populace, hence creating a more responsible community in helping to mitigate climate change.
In pursuance of national development objectives and consistent with global strategies on biogeoecology in which the forest plays a vital role, the Government of Brunei Darussalam commits itself to conserve, develop and manage its resources for the preservation and upliftment of the quality of life; the promotion of social, political and economic well-being of the people, and technological progress of the Country; and for bringing about environmental amenity and ecological equilibrium over time continuum.
Social Forest Policy
The relevant policy which governs the social forestry aspect in the Country is the “national forestry policy, 1989” – strategies actions incorporated into the park and recreational forest areas, rehabilitation of wasteland and degraded land, and environment protection strategies.
Apart from the National Forestry Policy, the Forest Act, chapter 46, Laws of Brunei (amended 2007) and the 20 Years Forestry Strategic Plan (2004-2023), also provide relevant provisions for the implementation of social forestry programs in the country – for example under Heart of Borneo initiative: HoB National Council and Project Implementation Framework (PIF).
Specific provisions in the Policy related to Social Forestry are:
- Section 2.6 (on environment forestry) “To foster awareness and appreciation of forests and forestry among the people and to encourage their active participation in forest conservation and development projects”.
- Section 3.8 (on industrial forestry) “To enlist maximum participation of citizens of Brunei Darussalam in forest based and related enterprises”.
Social Forestry Role in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption
- Create awareness on the importance role of forests in carbon sequestration.
- Encourage participation of wider forest stakeholders in sustainable forest management.
- Enhance the technical skill of stakeholders on forest related activities and programs such as afforestation, reforestation, and natural regeneration.
- Promote efficient utilization of natural (forest) resources.
- Promote the use of alternative and renewable energy source.
- Promote youth development as future scientist and environment leaders.
Role of Social Forestry in Contributing to Food Security and Addressing Climate Change
- Increase awareness among the general public (including local communities) on the importance of managing our forests resources in a sustainable manner;
- Educate the general public (including local communities) on the effect of deforestation and forest degradation to the global environment such as climate change, hence the climate change impact on food security;
- Instill sense of love and care for the forest among the general public (including local communities) to continue be responsible citizens and committed to ensure that our forest resources are well managed and conserved, such that it continues to provide socio-economic and environmental benefit to the people, not only for our current generation but also future generation.
Brunei Darussalam continues its effort to manage and develop its forest resources in a sustainable manner within the context of Sustainable Forest Management in support of the global effort to mitigate and avert climate change. The Social Forestry Component of the National Forest Policy is reviewed and strengthened in order to develop and enhance the social and cultural contributions of the forestry sector to the Country through active stakeholder participation in related forest management activities. Forestry extension works, awareness campaigns and programs will be continued to be implemented on a wider view and in all levels of society to generate better appreciation on the forest conservation and development initiatives of forestry sector.