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Aside from the innumerable environmental services they provide, forests are an important source of food, fuel, medicine, and income for rural women and men in the Global South. Yet, based on their gender and other factors of social differentiation, such as age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or caste, and marital status, local forest users experience many inequalities in forest management. For example, women and men commonly have unequal roles, rights and responsibilities when it comes to forest products and related benefits, or decisions and initiatives related to forest management. These inequalities present structural barriers to achieving sustainable and equitable development in tree-based landscapes.


Bioversity International’s research on gender and forests focuses on understanding and redressing gender and social inequalities related to forest management. Through research and action focused on women’s and men’s rights and participation in collective forest management, gender-equitable value chain development, gendered ecological knowledge, and social inclusion in landscape restoration, we seek to advance gender equality in its own right, and as a means to support sustainable forest management.

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Women’s hidden harvest: the AmaXhosa women and traditional culture survival practices

Take a visual journey to Hobeni village with this photobook 

Forest restoration

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Gender research

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Marlène Elias

Gender Specialist,
Conservation and Management of Forest Genetic Resources

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