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Speaker: Gill Shepherd, Visiting Senior Fellow, International Development Department, LSE/Special Adviser Ecosystems, Commission for Ecosystem Management, IUCN
Over the last decade Gill Shepherd has been much involved in developing simple ways of identifying the extent to which forests and related environmental resources contribute to overall household incomes. She has been especially interested in pinpointing the contribution of the non-cash component of forest incomes to overall incomes. These are usually 3-5 times higher than cash incomes from forest and their usual invisibility has meant that the contribution of forests to livelihoods and wellbeing have been seriously undervalued.
A better understanding of the contribution of forests to livelihoods has been needed for some while. This is true in the context of conservation programmes which have hoped to reduce or eliminate the use of forest by local people by providing them with livelihood alternatives. It is even more true in the case of REDD+ initiatives. Some possible ways forward are proposed.
Gill Shepherd originally took a PhD in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics. However, she has spent more than 30 years working on tropical forest issues, mainly in Asia and Africa, and focussing especially on the interface between livelihoods and forests. She was based at ODI from 1985 until 2003, where she established the Forest and Environment Group. More recently she has worked widely for IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), as Adviser on the Ecosystem Approach for the Commission on Ecosystem Management and as theme lead on ‘Poverty, Livelihoods and Landscapes’ for IUCN’s Forest Conservation Programme. She is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow in the International Development Department at the London School of Economics.