Human civilisation has played a role in forest destruction for millennia. However, in the recent decades this devastation has become commonplace, and has reached a scale and pace of destruction that is unprecedented. Primary forests are the home and foundation for the rich cultures and lifestyles of more than 1 billion Indigenous people. Another four billion live in communities adjacent to, or dependent in some form or another, on forests.

Community-based forest governance (CFG) refers to the regulations and practices used by many communities for the conservation and sustainable use of the forests with which they coexist. This type of governance is collective-communal, and by tradition identifies with the protection of the forests with regard to their industrial and commercial use. It also identifies itself with traditional knowledge as an alternative to the classic “forest science”.