Scaling up Sustainable Forest Landscape Management in the Lower Mekong Subregion

A fishing boat weaves its way through mangrove forest in the Mekong Delta, in southern Viet Nam

Program Summary

To improve landscape and forest management in the Lower Mekong Region and to promote regional dialogue and collaboration across Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam to scaleup resilient and productive forest landscapes.


The Mekong region houses the third largest contiguous tropical forest area in the world, after the Amazon and the Congo Basin, with 46 percent of its area still covered with forests. Forest landscapes are becoming ever more fragmented and degraded.  All countries are experiencing forest degradation, with many remaining forest areas either diminishing, being severely fragmented, or being degraded.  Although the forest cover in Vietnam and Thailand is increasing, mainly due to expanding forest plantations, all countries in the region are losing primary forests. Cambodia and Myanmar are experiencing significant overall forest degradation in all types. Nearly 80 percent of the rural population depends on agriculture and  wood  fuel  for  cooking  and  supporting  rural  industry,  thus  driving  habitat alteration . All countries in the Lower Mekong Subregion (LMS) have embraced the concept of forest landscape  management.  They have initiated investments in landscape programs supported by the World Bank and other development partners. However, many of the current and  emerging landscape and  forest  threats–climate change, forest fragmentation, loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity, wildlife  consumption/trade, and the  spread of  zoonotic diseases–require a more coordinated and collaborative regional response, which has  been lacking due to political isolation. At the same time, outdated forest management models need to be reconsidered and updated to account for new opportunities for economic contributions to rural development, especially in the recovery from COVID19, when ecotourism and plantation forestry could become green job promoters. 


The PROGREEN activities will support and facilitate the current transition away   from   Government-controlled   forest   management   models   to   participatory, integrated approaches that provide economic incentives and tangible benefits to the community and private stakeholders.-These   activities will also   advance LMS  countries’  collective  thinking  on   and preparedness for common  challenges  through  regional  dialogue  and  knowledge sharing, identifying solutions to recently identified trends in almost all countries, which include: Growing supply gap of legal timber which heavily impacts the regions’ natural forest so Increased influence of China, rapid infrastructure development (roads, water infrastructure) and its associated accelerated encroachment  pattern Illegal wildlife and timber trade Regional climate change impacts Forest fires and other trends, some of which have been aggravated by COVID19. -Through these assessments and the convening of stakeholders and country counterparts, the PROGREEN investments will advance a dialogue on policy solutions on regional economic development, more resilient cross-border landscape management, one-health and biodiversity solutions, promotion of  innovative technology solutions, and regional cooperation on critical value chains (ecotourism, forest plantations). The dialogue process will also advance / promote / enable novel approaches to financing, thus addressing the lack of adequate financing opportunities to support the implementation of ongoing forest landscape operations and to identify opportunities for cross-border programs. -
PROGREEN will add value by supporting the engagement with and consultation among Mekong countries to advance learning and needed policy dialogue by convening stakeholders, bringing in global and regional expertise on landscape management, cross-country benchmarking, and supporting thorough and deep consultations with affected stakeholders. PROGREEN resources will support the further dissemination and uptake of best practices and lessons from each of the LMS countries, targeting institutions and stakeholders to fill gaps and needs identified in the ongoing dialogue.

[Expected] Results

  • Promote resilient, large-scale landscape programs and leverage innovative financing (including cross-border), forest landscapes, including community tenure, cross-sectoral cooperation, land use planning, illegal timber and biodiversity trade, and fire management. 
  • Improve regional dialogue and knowledge exchange. A substantial amount of analytical work has been undertaken regarding land and water management in the countries of the LMS.