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Composition of the workgroup

1. Trees Outside Forests (TOFs)

The working group recognised the environmental and socio-economic importance of Trees Outside Forests (TOFs). It called for the assessment of their contribution to the economy in each country. The group reviewed the definitions supplied by FAO and noted these did not always match country perceptions of TOFs.

In the case of Zimbabwe, for example, the following definition was suggested:

The working group noted that 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.


· that a regional workshop be convened by FAO or another appropriate institution with country briefs used as inputs to the workshop; and that

· FAO should reconsider the its present definition of TOFs, particularly as regard tree height and crown cover density.

2. SADC Classification of Forest Cover

The working group recognised the importance of having concrete terms and definitions, and that these should be by national needs. It also noted the importance of networking on vegetation mapping to exchange information at regional level. It observed that harmonisation of vegetation classification has already been done through SADC and reaffirmed the importance of the classification. It noted that the member states have already endorsed this classification during a meeting held in 1997 (Pretoria).


· SADC will do what it can to find a donor to support the implementation of the SADC Vegetation Mapping and Information projects and the establishment of a network

3. Permanent Sample Plots for Monitoring Change

The working group recognised the importance of recurrent assessment of permanent sample plots for monitoring change in forest growth and health condition, and providing indicators of SFM.


· Member states should prepare a comprehensive review of the status of their PSPs, including the numbers of plots, location by eco-type, frequency of measurement, and date of establishment. This recommendation further supports the proposed role of FSTCU in compiling PSP information for the region (see Regional Vegetation Project: SADC appraisal mission for mapping, SCOT Counsel Report of 12/96, section 4.10).

4. Plantations

The working group observed that there is variation in the amount of plantation data and detail collected amongst the different member states, and that the reliability of this data leaves a lot to be desired. In particular, data collection from the private sector is difficult to acquire. It was also noted that the questionnaires from FAO were too detailed and laborious to complete.


· Data gathering institutions should closely liase with the relevant stakeholders;

· FAO data collection forms should be standardised as far as possible;

· Where data is unavailable expert opinion should be used to make estimates.

5. Relevant Information

The group recognised that relevant and reliable information is essential for policy development, updating and revision. The Working Group identified the following data as being of importance:

· land uses; vegetation maps using SADC classification; rate of deforestation;

· NTFPs and NWFPs; TOFs (where significant).


· FAO should present country data sets such that countries only complete the sections relevant to their own circumstances

6. Institutional Aspects

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 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. 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.

Participants recognised the increasing importance of participatory approaches in SFM. Forest Departments of member states should explore new ways of collecting data from community and other participatory schemes through partnership with NGOs where appropriate. 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.


· FAO, among other institutions, should promote technical co-operation in all aspects of data collection and analysis between countries within the region, as well as support to the development of regional capability, within the framework of the TCDC programme.

7. Forest Health

The group recognised the consequences for forest health arising from increased human pressure, including the incidence of fires and high grazing intensity, which are severe actual and potential hazards to SFM. Information seems to be well recorded by most countries for fire, especially for forest plantations, although there is little information for natural forest. In general there seemed to be few problems with pests and diseases, although elephants and baboons were reported as damaging in two countries.


· Countries should adjust figures on plantation areas where necessary, where necessary, to reflect loss due to drought or fire or other causes.

· Studies are required into the causes and economic importance of fires.

· Records should be maintained, distinguishing controlled fires from wildfires.

· There is a need for regional co-operation in monitoring fire outbreaks and extent.

8. Data Sets

The data sets prepared by FAO had not been received before the meeting by all participants and thus could not be checked by participants. 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.


· Country contact points should review the data sets for their countries to see whether they are complete, up to data and accurate, and should return them when corrected to FAO as soon as possible.


Composition of the group


1. Non-wood forest products (NWFP)

The group discussed about the format of the NWFP tables prepared by FAO. It agreed that there was very useful information to be gathered through that process. Definitions, contents and presentation were revised by the group and the following recommendations were produced.

Criteria for defining relative importance of NWFPs are not clear. It is therefore recommended that importance should be based on:

2. Fuelwood production

The situation of fuelwood in Africa was reviewed. Data problems were also assessed. by the group with particular emphasis on timely update of data, assessment challenges, and product importance.


3. Collection of Wood production Statistics

Participants noted the growth in small-scale wood industries (industries of the informal sector) in Africa resulting from economic depression. For reliable data collection on the forest industrial sector there is need:

Feedback Mechanisms

Capacity Building

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