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In the first half of 2015, SNV’s REDD+ team, supported by USAID LEAF, has completed the second step of their forest management improvement activities in Sanamxay district, Attapeu province. SNV has been supporting local villages in their planning to reforest areas that have been damaged and deforested by extensive development. This deforestation has negatively impacted economic growth in these communities, as many of them rely on forest resources for their livelihoods.

In step 1 of the project, last year, each village established and demarcated a forest restoration zone.  In coordination with district and provincial counterparts, step 2 involved establishing sampling plots and conducting an inventory of tree species in of these zones. The objective of setting up and surveying the sample plots was to determine the area to be restored through additional tree planting and natural regeneration.

The third and final step in the process will involve the planting of tree seedlings in the forest restoration zones at the beginning of the wet season. Each village will receive training in the implementation of regulations and guidelines that are currently being developed for the communities’ management of the restored forest area following the completion of the project. The goal is for the villagers themselves to become responsible for the continuation and maintenance of the reforestation area, thus ensuring the sustainability of the work over the long-term.

The overall aim of these activities is to contribute to improved sustainable forest management implementation and biodiversity conservation, and enhanced well-being and livelihoods through sustainable forestry and community development in the target villages. 

Supporting these communities in Attapeu is a part of the USAID-supported Lowering Emissions in Asia's Forests (LEAF) programme, conducted by SNV in Lao PDR. LEAF aims to pilot innovations in sustainable land management in six priority countries in the region.