The Lao: Sustainable Forestry for Rural Development II (SUFORD II) is part of a 11-year program being implemented over two phases. Originally approved in June 2003, the closing date of the second phase of the project has been extended to December 31, 2011. SUFORD aims to achieve the sustainable management of natural production forests to alleviate rural poverty in the already existing Production Forest Areas (PFAs) of Khammouane, Savannakhet, Saravane, and Champasack provinces along with an additional eight PFAs in Xayabury, Vientiane, Bolikhamxay, Attapeu, and Sekong.
Lao PDR is the most densely forested country in mainland Southeast Asia with forests covering 41 percent of the total area. Forests are an important economic resource generating employment, local and national budget revenues, export earnings and inputs to domestic timber processing. They also protect a large part of the country's biodiversity which is of global importance. Since greater community involvement is needed to ensure quality forest resource management across the country, the project aims to transfer responsibility for management, control, and decision making to local communities and on choices between timber and non-timber products and services of forests. The additional financing of this project is funded by the World Bank and the Government of Finland.