Click here for search results
Search in Manual

BP 4.36 - Forests

These policies were prepared for use by World Bank staff and are not necessarily a complete treatment of the subject.
BP 4.36
November, 2002
Note: OP /BP 4.36, Forests, were revised on April 2013 to take into account the recommendations in “Investment Lending Reform: Modernizing and Consolidating Operational Policies and Procedures” (R2012-0204 [IDA/R2012-0248]), which were approved by the Executive Directors on October 25, 2012. As a result of these recommendations, OP/BP 10.00, Investment Project Financing, have been revised, among other things, to incorporate OP/BP 13.05, Supervision, (which have consequently been retired). OP/BP 4.36 have consequently been updated to reflect these changes as well as to clarify the extent of applicability of this OP/BP to Development Policy Lending and Program-for Results-Financing and to reflect the updated title of the Bank’s policy on access to information.

Other related Bank policies include OP 4.01, Environmental Assessment, OP 4.04, Natural Habitats, OP 4.10, Indigenous Peoples, OP 4.11, Physical Cultural Resources, and OP 4.12, Involuntary Resettlement.

Questions on this OP/BP may be addressed to the Safeguard Policies Helpdesk in OPCS(

Revised April 2013

1. When the Bank identifies the potential for its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) to have a significant impact upon forests, the country department ensures that the forest-related concerns are appropriately addressed in the CAS.

Project Preparation

2. Early in project processing, the task team (TT) consults with the Regional environmental sector unit and, as necessary, with ESSD and other Networks to identify forest issues likely to arise during the project.

3. For each project covered under the scope of the policy as set forth in
 OP 4.36, para. 3, Bank staff ensure that an EA category is assigned in accordance with the requirements of OP/BP 4.01, Environmental Assessment. A project with the potential for conversion or degradation of natural forests or other natural habitats that is likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts that are sensitive, diverse, or unprecedented is classified as Category A; projects otherwise involving forests or other natural habitats are classified as Category B, C, or FI, depending on the type, location, sensitivity, and scale of the project and the nature and magnitude of its environmental impacts.1 

4. During project preparation, the TT ensures that the borrower provides the Bank with an assessment of the adequacy of land use allocations for the management, conservation, and sustainable development of forests, including any additional allocations needed to protect critical forest areas. This assessment provides an inventory of such critical forest areas, and is undertaken at a spatial scale that is ecologically, socially, and culturally appropriate for the forest area in which the project is located. The assessment involves all affected parties in accordance with OP 4.04, Natural Habitats,2  and is subject to independent scientific peer review.3  In addition, in accordance with OP 4.10, Indigenous Peoples, and OP 4.12, Involuntary Resettlement, the TT ensures that the borrower assesses the potential impact of the project on local communities, including their legal rights of access to, and use of, designated forest areas. If the project involves investments in forests under OP 4.36, para. 12, the TT ensures that the borrower also assesses the feasibility of giving preference to small-scale, community level harvesting approaches to harness the potential of forests to reduce poverty in a sustainable manner.

Harvesting Operations

5. If the project involves harvesting operations to be financed by the Bank under OP 4.36, paras. 9(b) or 12(b), the TT ensures that the project incorporates the time-bound action plan, as well as the associated performance benchmarks and the timeframe required to achieve appropriate forest management standards pursuant to OP 4.36, paras. 9-12. The TT includes the time-bound action plan (and the associated performance benchmarks) in the Project Appraisal Document, which is made available to the public in accordance with the World Bank's disclosure policy.4 

Community-Based Forest Management and Development

6. If the project is designed to support community-based forest management and development, the TT ensures that, as appropriate, the project's design takes the following into account:

(a) the extent to which the livelihoods of local communities depend on and use trees in the project and adjacent area,

(b) the institutional, policy, and conflict management issues involved in improving the participation of indigenous people5 a
nd poor people in the management of the trees and forests included in the project area; and

(c) forest product and forest service issues relevant to indigenous people and poor people living in or near forests in the project area, as well as opportunities for promoting the involvement of women.

7. If the project involves forest restoration or plantation development, the TT ensures that, as appropriate, the project design incorporates means of addressing the following issues: the potential of forest restoration to improve biodiversity and ecosystem functions; the potential to establish plantations on non-forest lands that do not contain critical natural habitats; the need to avoid conversion or degradation of natural habitats; and the capacities of the government, nongovernmental organizations, and other private entities to cooperate in the forest restoration and plantation development.

Project Implementation and Supervision

8. The Regional vice-president, through the relevant country director, ensures the availability of resources for effective supervision of projects covered by OP 4.36.

9. If a project involves commercial harvesting of forests, the TT ensures that the borrower makes available to the public the results of all forest management assessments carried out under the independent forest certification system referred to in OP 4.36.

10. Each project is supervised in accordance with OP/BP 10.00, Investment Project Financing. Throughout project implementation, the TT ensures that the requisite forest technical expertise is included in Bank supervision missions.


  1. See OP 4.01, Environmental Assessment, para 8, and BP 4.04, Natural Habitats, para. 2 for requirements concerning EA classification.
  2. See OP 4.04, Natural Habitats, para. 10 for guidance on involvement of parties in the assessment process.
  3. See OP 4.01, Environmental Assessment, for guidance on independent assessment work.
  4. See The World Bank Policy on Access to Information, (Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2002).
  5. See OP 4.10, Indigenous Peoples.

Permanent URL for this page: