Aside from the innumerable environmental services they provide, forests are an important source of food, fuel, and income for women and men in the developing world. Women are traditionally the main collectors of fuelwood, medicinal and aromatic plants and other non-timber forest products from forest and agroforestry landscapes, and can generate more than half of their income from forests, compared with about one-third for men. What is more, women’s participation in decision making at household and community levels, although often limited, has been shown to improve forest regeneration, increase crop yields, improve financial management and prioritize funding for pro-poor and empowerment programmes.
Whereas both women and men play active roles in the management and conservation of tree and forest resources, they do not benefit equally from these resources and from efforts to sustainably manage them.
Bioversity International’s participatory research on gender and forest genetic resources focuses on women’s and men’s distinct and complementary sets of knowledge, skills, practices and preferences related to forest management and conservation, and on gendered rights to access and benefit from trees and their products. The goal of this field of research is to develop effective forest genetic resource management recommendations and opportunities that can increase social equity and the long-term sustainability of forests.