Comprehensive Analysis of Trajectories of Change in the Uplands.

Towards a broad-based impact of research and development projects on public policies and livelihoods.

Ninety percent of the poor of Lao PDR live in rural areas, practice agriculture and rely extensively on natural resources for their livelihoods. Sustainable use of land and natural resources is therefore crucial for poverty reduction and socioeconomic development. In upland areas however, the current rates and extent of deforestation and forest degradation and the diffusion of unsustainable agricultural practices pose important threats to the achievement of these objectives.

In response to these threats, development-oriented research aims at supporting the emergence and diffusion of sustainable agro-forestry systems, the natural regeneration of degraded forests, and the protection of existing natural forests. Despite the will expressed by many projects to operate at a regional level and promote innovations that are both adapted to local circumstances and compatible with national policies, research and development interventions often have limited relevance and impacts beyond the local scale. These limitations are essentially due to methodological issues and an institutional framework poorly adapted to integration across scales.

From 2007 to 2012, the Catch-Up program strived to design tools and methods aimed at enhancing the impacts of research and development activities on rural livelihoods and public policies. The Program was implemented in Lao PDR through a partnership between the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD, France) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR, Indonesia).