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2.6 Thematic paper on socio-economic issues

Socio-economic issues of tropical secondary forest management in Anglophone Africa

A thematic paper
Written by
Dr. Joseph Obua
Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation
Makerere University
P.O. Box 7062
Kampala; Uganda

For the


Reality and perspectives
In collaboration with ICRAF and CIFOR
Nairobi, Kenya, 9-13 December 2002


Secondary forests are forests regenerating largely through natural processes after significant human or natural disturbance of the original forest vegetation at a single point in time or over an extended period, and displaying a major difference in forest structure and or canopy species composition with respect to nearby primary forests on similar sites. There is much literature on natural forests in Africa but there is not as much documentation specific to secondary forests in Anglophone Africa. Despite this limitation, this paper presents a document review on socio-economic issues in secondary forests in Anglophone Africa.

The major socio-economic issues discussed in this paper related to secondary forests in Anglophone Africa are: community based forest resources management, hunting and trade in bush meat, shifting cultivation, forest fires, harvesting medicinal plants, edible wild plant resources, beekeeping and honey collection, basketry, wood carving, building poles, fuel wood, grazing, buffer zone agroforestry, ecotourism, management of sacred groves/traditional forest reserves, tenure systems, forest user rights and conflicts, evictions and resettlement from forest reserves, multiple-use policy and the concept of integrated development and conservation, and methodological issues in the assessment of non-timber forest products.

A major lesson that can be gleaned from this synthesis is that management and conservation strategies for secondary forests in Anglophone countries need to be developed taking into account local socio-economic factors. The potential socio-economic constraint to secondary forest management lies in (a) continued distrust and antagonism between local communities and forest managers who impede local participation in forest management, and (b) lack of alternative livelihood activities.

There is a need to develop methodologies for assessing the "true value" of secondary forests and to monitor the off-take of forest products. Knowledge of the value of secondary forests could enhance the sustainable management of this resource.

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