Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


3.1. Forest Resources

The Forest Resources Working Group was introduced by Mr Peter Gondo (Zimbabwe Forestry Commission). Under the Chairmanship of Ms Sebueng Kelatwang (South Africa), who was assisted by Mr. Kasizo Chirambo (Malawi) and Mr Dominick Kwesha (Zimbabwe) as rapporteurs, the group was asked to consider the following aspects of forest resource:

Forest Resources

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

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

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

4. Analyse existing data on Plantations, NWFPs, and Trees Outside Forests, and suggest improved methods for data collection, analysis and dissemination.

The working group on Forest Resources reached a number of conclusions and drafted recommendations. In common with the other working group on Forest Products, some of the conclusions were of a more general nature and those are presented below.

Trees outside Forests (TOFs)

· The group recognised the environmental and socio-economic importance of TOFs, and called for the assessment of their contribution to the economy in each country;

· The group noted that definitions of TOFs provided by FAO did not always match country perceptions of TOFs; FAO was urged to reconsider its present definition of TOFs, particularly as regard tree height and crown cover density, and to limit consideration to those trees with a demonstrable economic and social function;

· The group was concerned about the appropriate assessment methodologies and possible high costs involved, and welcomed FAO's initiatives in regard to Country Briefs and Pilot Studies; all the countries present showed interest in preparing country briefs on TOFs, and also observed that FAO was willing to support both the preparation of the country briefs and the pilot studies on TOFs.

Forest Cover Classification

· The group recognised the importance of having concrete terms and definitions, and that these should be determined primarily by national needs. It also noted the importance of compatibility and exchange of forest cover information at sub-regional level.

· The group noted that harmonisation of forest cover classification has already been initiated through SADC, and the meeting reaffirmed the importance of the SADC classification which had been developed during an EC funded project feasibility study. It also noted that SADC member states have already endorsed this classification during a meeting held in 1997, in Pretoria, South Africa, but that follow-up with the SADC Vegetation Mapping Project was still awaiting funding.

Information for monitoring change

· The group recognised the importance to Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) of recurrent assessment of Permanent Sample Plots (PSPs) for monitoring change in forest productivity, health and condition, and for providing indicators of SFM;

· Countries should prepare a comprehensive review of the status of their PSPs, which would support the proposed role of FSTCU in compiling PSP information for the region.


· The group observed that there is variation in the amount of plantation data and details collected amongst the participating countries; that such data may often be misleading and unreliable, in particular, data collection from the private sector is difficult to acquire; it was also noted that the questionnaires from FAO, as in many other instances, were too detailed and laborious to complete; in those instances when plantation data is unavailable, participants approved the use of "expert opinion" to make estimates.

Fires and Forest Health

· The group recognised that fires are severe actual and potential hazards to SFM. Information on fire affecting plantations is well recorded by most countries, but there is little information for natural forest;

· Participants noted that various studies (e.g. CIDA, 1995) have been carried out in the Region into the economic importance of fires;

· In general there seemed to be few problems with forest pests and diseases, although elephants and baboons were reported as damaging in two countries.

3.2. Forest Products

Under the Chairmanship of Mr. Orastes Mandrate Nakala, who was assisted by Ms. Anne Chishawa as rapporteur, the Forest Products Working Group was tasked to consider the following aspects of forest products information and information technology:

Forest Products

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

2. 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.).

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

The working group on forest products and information technology reached the following principle conclusions and recommendations (see below):

Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs).

· The meeting discussed the format and content of the tables on NWFPs prepared by FAO, and reviewed definitions in relation to the exclusion of small wood (Non-Timber) products, and also noted the apparent exclusion of TOFs. It was agreed that information was generally sparse and inadequate.


· The importance of fuelwood and the supply-demand situation in participating countries was reviewed, and data problems were assessed with particular emphasis on timeliness, measurement problems, and on the need for reliable data for national planning purposes.

Informal Wood Production

· The meeting noted the growth in small-scale wood industries, particularly in the informal sector, and the need to obtain reliable data covering this aspect.

3.3. Institutional Aspects

National Forest Statistics Collection

Both working groups recognised that relevant and reliable information is essential for policy development, updating and revision. But, all participants reported that their data collection capacity was limited by shortage of funds for operational activities to collect store, and analyse data relevant to sustainable forest management. Many participants also reported difficulties in data collection and analysis due to high staff turnover and lack of continuity. Most countries reported the presence of skilled staff, but some do not, especially in certain fields such as data analysis. Participants drew attention of FAO and other donors to the need for training and institutional support in the field of data collection and analysis for sustainable forest management and appropriate policy development.

The groups also recognised the increasing importance of participatory approaches in SFM. In view of the general trend towards privatisation, several countries expressed concern over the weak co-operation between the public and the private sectors and NGOs. It was felt that Forest Departments and data gathering institutions of member states should liase closely with the relevant stakeholders, and explore new ways of collecting data from community and other participatory schemes, through partnership with NGOs where appropriate.

Participants drew the attention of FAO and other donors to the need for training and institutional support in the field of data collection and analysis for SFM and appropriate policy Development.

Data Exchange with FAO

· It was noted that the data sets prepared by FAO had not been received before the meeting by all participants and thus could not be checked by participants. Concern was expressed that FAO data collection forms lacked standardisation and that they were, in parts, irrelevant to specific country conditions. It was felt that these formats could be better designed to permit selectivity in data completion by countries.

· The meeting noted that forest statistics should serve primarily national needs for SFM, but that countries should make such data available to international institutions and agreements in a timely manner within their capacity and the availability of the data.

3.4. Pilot Study Project for Zimbabwe

The purpose and modalities: Zimbabwe could host a pilot project (financed through the EC-FAO programme) to look deeper into collection and analysis of data on forest products and services from natural forests and trees outside forests. These aspects were brainstormed by a group of Senior Forestry Officers from the Zimbabwean Forestry Commission and that can be included in the study are data requirements to analyse the supply and demand dynamics of fuelwood at the sub-national and national level, analysis of the impact of the tree planting activities in quantitative terms (Rural Afforestation, Tree Growing and Tree Care Competition and the National Tree Planting Day) and analysis of the impact of introducing co-management schemes in gazetted state forests. Generally it was acknowledged that not much information is available on the volumes or quantities of NWFP obtained from natural forests. It is thus impossible to assess whether natural forests are being managed sustainably or not.

The proposed project will aim to develop methodologies of data collection and analysis and to test the applicability of the methodologies in assessing whether natural forests, or Trees Outside Forests or artificial plantations/woodlots are being managed sustainably. A fuller concept note will be prepared in collaboration with FAO sometime early this year. It was indicated that the pilot study will be financed for a minimum of US$ 50, 000 for three years until 2002.

Review of Forest Statistics in Zimbabwe: The review is based on the information on Zimbabwe that was provided during the workshop.

Forest Resources Set: The information on Forest Resources was corrected and edited by Dr. D. Gwaze. An edited paper was sent to FAO, Rome.

Forest Products: The information on plantation forest products is available and a number of tables showing the latest figures on forest products are included. Detailed statistics as required by FAO on forms FP1 to FP5 require more time and visits to different timber growers and producers.

Information on non-woody forest products, firewood produced is not available at a national level. The absence of information on such products forms the basis of the pilot study proposed for Zimbabwe under the EC-FAO Partnership programme.

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 David Gwaze, Policy Coordinator, Zimbabwe Forestry Commission. They identified the following, in order of priority:

· NWFP, both as resource and as products (items such as carvings and mushrooms); other SADC countries might be included and be tied in with an ICRAF initiative;

· Evaluation of extension and tree planting programmes (as part of TOFs);

· Biomass/Fuelwood/Yield studies. Various ideas were put forward, including:

· Analysis of permanent sample plot: results are collected but not yet computed; this would support the workshop and would involve other neighbouring countries;

· an investigation of fuelwood dynamics;

· Plantations, including the development of a management information and modelling system for testing options.

3.5. Relevance of workshop to technical responsibilities

· There was a loud and clear message of support from the SADC countries to the EC-FAO initiative;

· All participants, even those not specialised in statistics, recognised the prime importance of the workshop;

· For at least six overseas participants, and several of the national Zimbabwean participants the workshop was very relevant and the information useful in the execution of their daily duties on return home;

· The workshop provided an occasion to identify good candidates for TCDC programmes and for the recruitment of national consultants and focal points for specific subjects (FRA, NWFP, woodfuels, TOF, Yearbook, etc.); The FAO recruitment roster will be updated with some Personal History Forms for African sub-regional and regional Forestry Officers;

Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page