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African, Caribbean and Pacific


Assistant Director General


Centro Agronomia Tropical de Investigación y de Enseñanza.


Chief Forestry Officer


Centre de coopéra. internat.en recherche agronomique pour le développement


Centre national d'études agronomiques des régions chaudes


Centre national de recherche scientifique


Common Wealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization


District Agriculture Officer


Director of Conservation, Forestry and Land Use Planning


École des hautes études en sciences sociales


École national du génie rural, des eaux et des forêts


Forest Action Network (Kenya)


Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nation


Forest Industries Training Centre


Forestry Outlook Study for Africa


Green Belt Zone


Gross Domestic Product


Government of Lesotho


Lesotho Energy Master Plan


International Centre for Research in Agro-forestry


Inter-Governmental Authority on Development


Institut national de recherche agronomique


International Union of Conservation of Nature


Ministry of Agriculture


National Forestry Action Plan


Non-wood forest product


Institut français de recherche scientifique pour le développ. en coopération


Regional Office for Africa - Forestry group


Regional Office for Africa - Operations


Technical Co-operation Programme


Trees outside the forest


United Nations Environmental Program


World Agricultural Information Centre


The Sub-Regional Workshop for South-African Countries on "Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in ACP Countries - Linking National and International Efforts" was held in Mutare, Zimbabwe, from 30 November to 4 December 1998. The event was organised by FAO with the financial support of the EC through the EC-FAO Partnership Programme (Tropical Forestry Budget Line B7-6201/97-15/VIII/FOR - Project GCP/INT/679/EC).

This report provides the proceedings of the workshop, including an overview of the Project, the workshop objectives and conditions, conclusions and lessons learnt from this exercise, which may be useful during the implementation of future workshops.


2.1. The Organisation of the Workshop

The Zimbabwe Workshop on Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in ACP Countries was held in Mutare, Zimbabwe from 30 November - 4 December 1998 under the sponsorship of FAO, and with the support of the EU through the EC-FAO Partnership Programme.

This workshop was the second of a series of five - four of which are taking place in Africa - and focussed geographically on ten selected countries of the SADC sub-regional organisation, namely: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

With the exception of Namibia, all the above countries were able to send at least one participant. In the case of Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia, two participants from each country came, and the host country, Zimbabwe, had nine participants. There were five FAO staff members present. The private sector and several NGO's were invited but only one participant from an NGO and one from the private sector attended. A list of participants is attached as Appendix I.

The workshop took place in the Forest Industries Training Centre (FITC) by kind invitation of the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission. Despite some difficult logistics at the beginning, it is believed that the choice of Mutare as location for the workshop was good. It has shown the SADC participants the training sawmill, veneer and plywood plant at FITC (an FAO implemented SADC project) and a sample of the fine pine plantation forests and sound tree breeding research done by the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission.

The workshop, which lasted 4½ days, had 2 parallel groups (Forest Resources and Forest Products/Information Technology) for 1½ days. A copy of the agenda is attached as Appendix II. A senior officer of the host country, Mr. Crispen Marunda of the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission, was invited to chair the plenary sessions. The two working groups were chaired by Ms. Sebueng Kelatwang (South Africa) and Mr. Orastes Mandrate Nakala (Mozambique), respectively.

The participating countries were provided with several background documents related to the forestry sector together with the presently available information on the forest resources and products of the region. This information had been sent approximately one month before the workshop, through the FAO Representative, to each country. Various other Secretariat papers were distributed during the meeting (see list of documents provided in Appendix III).

Useful additions to the agenda were:

2.2. Introductory addresses and highlights

The workshop was officially opened by the Acting General Manager of the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, Mr Phillip Kariwo, who welcomed the participants to Zimbabwe and to FITC. He expressed his desire for a constructive meeting. He highlighted the importance of forest statistics in decision making and urged all to actively participate in the workshop.

The Deputy Italian Ambassador, Ms Munzi, also welcomed the participants to FITC. She spoke of her country's key role in establishing FITC through an FAO's field project. She reviewed current Italian involvement in the forestry and natural resources sector.

Owing to alternative commitments, no Representative of FAO's Country Office in Zimbabwe was able to attend. In his capacity as Senior FAO Officer present, Mr Jim Ball, Senior Forest Officer, Forest Resources Division, presented the workshop objectives and gave an overview of FAO Forestry Department's activities in Africa. He stated that forestry information is needed for three main purposes: a) national policy development and planning; b) investment appraisal and decision making, and c) international policy development and negotiation. Most of the information currently compiled by FAO falls broadly into two main areas namely: a) Forest resources information and statistics on the area, stocking, growth, condition and type of forest resources; and b) Forest product information and statistics on production, consumption and trade.

Mr Peter Lowe (Forestry Planning Officer, Regional Office for Africa, FAO), conveyed the cordial greetings of Mr. Pape Kone, FAO's Senior Forest Officer in Africa, and presented a paper entitled the Forestry Situation in Africa (see Appendix III A). This paper reviewed the needs for forest statistics and, in particular, emphasised the importance of regional and sub-regional collaboration among countries to provide policy makers with harmonised data in order that they might develop and adopt common negotiating positions in global discussions of sustainable forest management. The speaker suggested that considerations of the contribution of forests to Food Security provided a powerful theme on which foresters could approach data collection, and he provided various examples. Finally, he highlighted various problems and deficiencies in forestry data collection in Africa which need to be addressed, and in so doing, informed the participants of the proposed Forestry Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA) which FAO was initiating in concert with various partners, including the EU.

Mr Charles Omoluabi, Forestry Officer (Forestry Policy and Planning Division) presented a draft report entitled "Methodological guidelines for improving Forestry statistics in Africa", which was commissioned by the FAO Regional Office for Africa at the request of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) at its 10th Session in South Africa, 1995. Strong emphasis was placed on the need for a sub-regional approach to forestry information collection, focussed on the key areas of forest resources, timber production, wood energy, non-wood forest products, operational costs and the socio-economic-political environment.

All participants were given the chance to introduce themselves. Each participating country presented a paper on the current status of the forest sector. For each presentation, gaps in terms of information were identified and these formed the basis for the recommendations. Generally, it was acknowledged in all country presentations that information on plantation forests is often adequate and up-to-date, but the information on NWFP and non-timber forest products is lacking.

Two working groups one on forest resources and another on forest products were formed and were given the task of reviewing the set of documents presented by FAO. In the plenary final session the conclusions and recommendations of both working groups have been discussed. See Report of the Forest Resources Team, the report of the Forest Products Team, and a set of general recommendations presented and approved by the audience.

An informal meeting to introduce the concept of pilot studies in the EC-FAO Project and to air some ideas was held over dinner with the Zimbabwean delegates on the final evening (3/12) of the Mutare workshop. The delegation was led by Mr David Gwaze, Policy Coordinator, Zimbabwe Forestry Commission.

2.3. Presentation of Country Briefs

The participants from each of the nine countries attending presented in plenary session a country brief according to a format distributed prior to the workshop. The country presentations went on longer than expected but were interesting. However, the majority of the participants did not focus enough on the topic of the workshop: statistics, their collection, analyses, uses and reporting. Instead, too much time was spent on generalities.

None of the reports included wildlife aspects to any significant degree, which may be attributed to a lack of emphasis in the standard format, as well as institutional factors in the various countries. See Appendix V for the full Country Reports.

The country report of Angola described the socio-economic, political and security context for forest management in the country. Despite the debilitated state of government administration in Angola, the country report contained statistics on forest resources, plantations and forest production, including fuelwood. However, in general, there is not yet any appropriate network of data collection in the forest sector, no forest inventory, and there are few trained foresters - a situation that prevents any formal forest management from being undertaken.

The country report of Botswana provided an overview of the forestry sector, highlighting some basic source documents. Of particular interest is the stated area (93%) of natural woodlands and forests in Botswana. This compares with a figure of 24.6% in the Forest Resources Assessment 1990, a discrepancy which underlines the need for common terminology and definitions. Overall, the country report concluded that there is insufficient data relating to the forest sector in Botswana to guide the sustainable management of wood-lands and forests, and that there is a need for a Forest Statistics Unit to take on this challenge.

The country report of Lesotho provided extensive information of the general socio-economic background, but is less detailed in regard to the forestry sector. The presentation highlighted some of the difficulties faced by forestry officers in working effectively within the decentralised government administration.

The country report of Malawi provided a range of information on natural forest resources, plantations and forest production. It is interesting to note that productivity figures are quoted for natural forests and that, according to national estimates, the deforestation rate is 1.5 - 2.0% annually - one of the highest figures in Africa. In regard to plantations, the report gives annual productivity figures but cautions that these are likely to be much reduced owing to "the destruction of many plantations by fire". The report concludes with an outlook prediction that wood consumption demand, driven by population growth, will outstrip the sustainable supply levels in the late 1990s.

The country report of Mozambique gave a comprehensive picture of the forest sector with up-to-date figures on forest resources, forest production and the processing industry. This availability of data is due to a recent national forest inventory and a forest information collection and management system, which were outputs of a UNDP funded FAO project in the National Forestry and Wildlife Directorate.

Although not present at the workshop, Namibia submitted a short report on the status and use of forestry statistics in that country. This dealt with the institutions involved, data collection and report production.

The country report of South Africa recognised many shortcomings of the forest policy and data collection priorities inherited from the previous government, which had focussed on the information requirements of the formal industrial forestry sector. Broader based information is now essential for the formulation of criteria and indicators of sustainable management and the development of forest resource accounting and, more specifically, to better manage national water resources. The new Forest Act requires a report on the entire forest sector for 1999.

The country report of Swaziland surveyed the relative roles of natural and plantation forests in the kingdom. Recent figures are available for forest resources and forest production, the latter being based mainly on the private sector. The presentation concluded that there is an imbalance between the excellent achievements of the private plantation sector, whilst the government is constrained in the management of natural forests by a lack of qualified personnel.

The country report of Zambia gave a useful and detailed overview of the forest sector, based in part on outputs from the Zambia Forestry Action Plan. However, it should be noted that many of the statistics presented are derived from expert estimates and localised inventories. The most recent national forest inventory in Zambia dates from the 1960s. Notably, the report contains information on wood supply from non-forest areas, including Trees Outside the Forest. The report concludes that, owing to a lack of detailed inventory data and inadequate resources, forest management in Zambia is not currently based on sustainable practices. Nevertheless, the report manages to present various supply-demand scenarios through to the year 2016.

The country report of Zimbabwe reflected the maturity of the commercial plantation sector and, also, recent innovations in information on indigenous woodlands; for example, on the valuation of forest products and services, including NWFPs. However, coverage of natural forests is still considered inadequate. The presentation revealed that private sector organisations are active and, in some cases, more effective in collecting forest sector data pertaining to commercial sector, but gaps still exist in respect of small tree growers.

2.4. Other Presentations

Forest Sector Technical Cooperation Unit - FSTCU

Responsibility within SADC for the Forest Sector Technical Cooperation Unit (FSTCU) mandated to Malawi by the Council of Ministers in Maseru, Lesotho in 1985. Mr Sam Kainja of Malawi presented an overview of the mandate, responsibilities, functions, programme and projects of FSTCU (see Appendix V A). It was noted that FSTCU has a specific mandate to manage relevant information and data concerning the forest sector within its six programme areas of:

· Forest Utilisation and Trade;

· Forest Resource Assessment;

· Forest Resource management;

· Forest Industry Development.

It was pointed out that SADC currently has six forestry projects underway, two partially funded and six un-funded. In this last category are two potential projects of particular significance for forest sector information, namely:

· Regional Vegetation Mapping;

· Development of Forestry Information Management Network System in SADC Region.

The first of these originates from proposals discussed in the early 1990s for a sub-regional forest inventory project, and has now been broadened to encompass a more general vegetation mapping. It is likely that the project could form part of the Africover vegetation mapping project, but funding has not yet been identified, although the EU has previously expressed some interest.

The second project proposal, for a forest information management network , would provide an ideal means for the collection, harmonisation and exchange of forestry data on a sub-regional basis. At present, no funding source has been identified.

Trees Outside the Forest

An introductory paper on Trees Outside the Forest (TOFs) was presented to the forest resources parallel session (see section 5 below) by Mr Peter Gondo of Zimbabwe. This was intended to provide a basis for discussion among participants, many of whom were relatively unfamiliar with this "non-forest" dimension of foresters' domain. Particular attention was given in the presentation to the practical difficulties of measuring and assessing TOFs in comparison forests and woodlands (see Appendix III D).

Overview of Data Collection Requirements

In view of the high number of data formats distributed by FAO to workshop participants, Mr Peter Lowe of FAO provided an Overview of Data Collection Requirements (see Appendix III. B).

Presentation of the Working groups

· Review the classification, definition and structure of the core forest resources data (i.e. natural forest area, other wooded land, forest types and ecological zones, volume and biomass, protected areas, wood supply potential and changes over time);

· Review and validate FAO and national statistics on forest resources and document other valuable data sources made available by the participating countries;

· Discuss problems, constraints, and capacity needs in order to improve present methods of data collection, processing, and dissemination;

· Analyse existing data on Plantations, NWFPs, and TOF, and suggest improved methods for data collection, analysis and dissemination.

· Review the classification, definition, and measurement procedures of forest products in participating countries, in order to assess their coverage and socio-economic relevance;

· Review of country data on production, prices, and trade of forest products, including fuelwood and charcoal, and other relevant forest products other than wood (gums, myrrh, incense, etc.); and

· Analyse the problems related to data collection, validation, and dissemination by using conventional methodologies and new information technologies.

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