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There are significant gaps in research aimed at understanding how the complementary roles and responsibilities of men and women could improve sustainable forest management. These include more research on the types of  governance that enable more women to make decisions; the distribution of responsibility, benefits and information between men and women in mixed groups; the implication of reforms on women’s rights to trees and forest resources; and, the roles and contributions of women and men with respect to collective action and constraints in forestry settings. There also needs to be a closer examination of gender-differentiated impacts of emerging global processes and policies such as climate mitigation and adaptation. Addressing these gaps will be vital to improve forest management policies, in particular, for the equitable allocation of resources and distribution of benefits.

Gender influences individuals’ roles in managing forests, their access to forests, and how they use forest resources. For non-timber forest products (NTFPs) there is incredible variation within and between countries in the types of products, and the stages in production where men and women are engaged. For example, in southern Ethiopia, it is primarily women who tap and collect gum olibanum, while in northern and north western Ethiopia these activities are done by men. Unfortunately, there is a lack of data around women’s participation in many forestry activities as well as in large-scale forestry, which makes it difficult to obtain an accurate picture of their involvement. This may suggest that women’s roles in the forestry sector are invisible and informal, leading to poor working conditions and lower remuneration.

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