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FAO - Conservation,

Research and Education Service (FORC)

FAO, Rome

Summary of Activities

The Forest Conservation, Research and Education Service (FORC) has assisted Project GCP/INT/679/EC mainly in developing the component Trees-outside-forests (hereinafter referred to as "TOF"). In order to set the stage for this topic, a letter of agreement has been signed with ORSTOM (France) to undertake a General Study entitled "Assessment of Trees-outside-forests: Taking Stock". This study aimed to:

· clarify the definition of TOF, have a better understanding of the resource, its classification, the opportunities and constraints of existing methodologies of assessment and, lessons learned and data from experiences in different regions of the world;

· initiate an International Consultative Group to orient and support FAO in the implementation of the TOF component of the Project and for the general topic development.

Within this framework ORSTOM has organised in Orléans, France, from 21 to 23 September 1998, a workshop for 40 participants with expertise in developing and developed countries related to management, assessment and inventory of TOF. The majority of the participants came from France (such as CIRAD, CNEARC, CNRS, EHESS, ENGREF, INRA, MNHN, ORSTOM, Université P. Sabatier de Toulouse, Services de l'Inventaire Forestier National), but also from UK (ODI), Netherlands (National Reference Centre for Nature Management) and Cameroon (University of Yaoundé). ORSTOM will present the findings of the study at the end of December 1998.

During the regional workshops in Nakuru (Oct. 1998) and Mutare (Nov. 98), a paper has been distributed entitled "Trees-outside-forests: Towards a better understanding and assessment of TOF resources - brainstorming points". The report (see below) introduces the topic and stimulates the discussions around 4 questions:

· what are trees-outside-forest resources;

· why to assess(inventory?) TOF and for whom?

· how to assess TOF resources?

· who assess TOF resources?

During this meeting, the Forest Action Network - FAN (Kenya) assisted the FAO team in facilitating and reporting on the sessions related to TOF. FAN will pursue its collaboration supporting a specific networking on TOF among the countries in Southern and Eastern Africa.

It is important to mention the other activities funded by FAO Regular Program and by FRA2000 which contribute substantially to the process initiated by the Project. Among these activities are the three Regional Special Studies for Latin America (CATIE), Eastern and Southern Africa (Makarere University), and Asia/Pacific (institution to be identified) entitled: "Valuation and Evaluation of Trees-Outside-Forests: a first step in contribution to FRA2000 and topic development". Other national studies in ACP countries are planned. A similar process will be adopted for the other sub-regions, namely the workshops to be held in Ivory Coast, Gabon, and the Caribbean.

In early 1999 (proposed date March 1999) it is expected that the preliminary results of the Project and of other FAO activities around TOF will be discussed during a Seminar in FAO/HQs in Rome, where the International Consultative Group would meet for the first time. The outcome of the Seminar would provide the basis and recommendations for the activities to be carried out in order to achieve the objectives of the Project (methodology development process and outlook studies related to TOF in the ACP countries). The activities around the pilot countries (Uganda and Zimbabwe) will be based on strong networking within the country and with the other countries, in order for all of them to contribute to the process and benefit directly from it for their national capacity building.

Introducing Trees outside the Forests (TOF)

`The significance and functions of Tree Resources Outside the Forest (TOF) are very diverse and can locally be very different in nature and importance. Particularly in the tropics TOF play a prominent role, embracing many ecological functions (e.g. conservation of biodiversity, erosion control, carbon sequestration, etc.), but also direct economic functions (e.g. provision of firewood, fodder, fence-posts, living-fence posts, etc.). TOF are present in various land use classes but do not form a land use class on its own. This makes a large area assessment for TOF difficult. Compared to other natural resources little is known about TOF on a large area basis (e.g. floristic composition, spatial distribution, and functions of biomass). The ever-decreasing forest cover and increasing forest fragmentation, however, increase the relative importance of TOF. The need for better data and information is therefore obvious and expressed by many natural resource managers, planning institutions and projects that all want to include TOF into their planning activities. This need for more information is valid for many regions, particularly in regions where forest cover is very low and where tree components in agroforestry systems are intensively promoted'.1

TOF data is currently not systematically recorded in national forest resources assessment and in the Forest Resource Assessment Programme (FRA) of the FAO but it has been identified to be an essential element for Sustainable Forest Management. Gathering and analysing data on TOF is a difficult task, and data on fuelwood, non-wood forest products, forest plantations and environmental services must be taken into consideration.

The objective of this paper is to:

· present some elements showing the complexity of the topic;

· present some on-going or planned initiatives undertaken by FAO and other institutions related to TOF;

· open a discussion among the participant of ACP countries present to this workshop on "why, for whom and how to assess the TOF- resource".

It is hoped that at the end of the workshop the subject of TOF has caught the attention and evoked the interest of the participants. It is hoped that there are suggestions made to introduce TOF in the assessment methodology development process, and in particular in the framework of the different components of the DG-VIII project, as for instance through the pilot country studies.

Trees-Outside Forests: Taking Stock

What are trees-outside-forest (TOF) resources? Why to assess (inventory?) TOF for Whom ? How to assess TOF resources? Who assess TOF resources?

In the framework of the DG-VIII project, FAO is undertaking a study at world-wide level in partnership with ORSTOM (France). This first step aims to review the concept and definition of TOF, review the available information (including assessment and inventory methods, institutional experiences), and propose methodology assessment and data collection framework. To start to answer the questions mentioned above (see box 1) ORSTOM has organised a seminar on Trees-outside-forest in Orleans, France, from 21 to 23 of September 1998. These experts coming from different disciplines and with world-wide practical research and assessment experience on TOF resources looked at these questions. The discussions confirmed that there is no one easy answer.

TOF as defined by the FAO (see definition below) is a `non-category'. TOF are found in rural and urban area, on agricultural lands and other than forest and non-wooden-land; they constitute a wide diversity of species and systems, and are under the responsibility of several institutions.

Trees outside forest as defined by KOTKA III:

Trees on land not defined as forest and other wooded land.

· Trees on land that fulfils the requirements of forest and other wooded land except that the area is less than 0.5 ha;

· trees able to reach a height of at least 5m at maturity in situ where stocking level is below 5 %;

· trees not able to reach a height of 5 m at maturity in situ where the stocking level is below 20 %;

· scattered trees in permanent meadows and pastures;

· permanent tree crops such as fruit trees and coconuts;

· trees in parks and gardens, around buildings and in lines along streets, roads, railways, rivers, streams and canals;

· trees in shelterbelts of less than 20 m width and 0.5 ha area.

At the workshop in Orléans, it has been suggested that while defining and classifying TOF, a particular attention should be paid to specific particularities of these resources such as :

· the notion of multiple use and multi-function;

· the dynamic of the evolution of the resource: deforestation, degradation, afforestation, spontaneous regeneration;

· anthropic pressure: to understand the management aspects of TOF, it is essential to introduce the complexity of agricultural and pastoral systems and consequently, to take inventory of practices and use according the cases;

· the role of TOF in tenure and political issues, namely the relation with deforestation, forest clearing, plantation, access to land and resources;

· the coherence between the categories of resources distinguished in field visit and those by other methods (such as tele-detection and cartography);

· the coherence between different scale of needs: sub-national, national and supra-national ; at one end of the spectrum, the poor people depend on TOF for their role in nutritional and food security, farm system conservation and income generation; the other end of the spectrum represent the contribution of TOF to regional and global issues and the commitment of countries to convention such as on biodiversity, desertification and carbon substitution and sequestration.

Why assess TOF and for whom? How to assess TOF resources and Who assesses them?

Why and for whom are definitively un-separatable. A look at the studies on Kenya and India provide insight on the assessment of specific TOF and how it may be useful to users of these data, namely communities, natural resource managers and planers, politicians and decision makers at different levels.


In the article `Not all African Land in being degraded : a recent survey of Trees on farms in Kenya reveals rapidly increasing forest resource' the authors present results from a survey of woody biomass on farmland in Kenya. The survey, which covers 10 million ha where 80% of the country's population lives, revealed a rapid increase of planted woody biomass between years 1986-1992. Its also revealed that wood on farmland can become a major source of raw material for the wood industry, since the standing volume is larger than that found in conventional forests; question some pessimistic opinions on land-use development and fuelwood gap theory and land degradation is not directly related to rapid population growth. Kenyan farmers seem to apply wise and sustainable-management practices, including tree growing. It is suggested that a secure land-tenure system on agricultural land is a significant reason for this recent development.

Source: P. Holmgren, E.J. Masakha and H. Sjoholm. `Not all African Land in being degraded : a recent survey of Trees on farms in Kenya reveals rapidly increasing forest resource'. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. AMBIO. 1994.


In India, a section of the State of Forest Report in 1997 is dedicated to Non-Forest Area. From 1991-92 the Forest Survey of India (FSI) took up inventory of trees growing outside conventional forest areas in the country. The main objective of the inventory is to assess the extent of plantations raised under various social forestry schemes by different agencies. The sampling design, field formats, data processing methodology have been developed at the FSI. Planted trees are classified in eight categories: Farm forestry, Village woodlots, Block plantation, Road, Pond, Rail and Canal side plantations and Other. The inventory of the non-forest area of Haryana has been completed in 1997. The result reveal that farm forestry contributes about 41% of the total standing volume of wood in non forest areas in Haryana, followed by village woodlots (23%), Roadside plantations (13%) and Block plantations (11%).

Sampling Design - Non Forest Area: The sampling design adopted for this inventory is a two stage stratified sampling. Sampling unit in the first stage is a district and in the second stage a village. While taking up the survey of a state, optimum number of villages to be surveyed is determined on the basis of data obtained from a pilot survey. The number of villages to be inventoried in a district is decided according to proportional allocation. Trees standing in the selected villages are enumerated and measured by the field parties. Compilation and data processing is done district-wise.

Source: State of Forest Report 1997. Forest Survey of India (Ministry of Environment and Forests). Dehra Dun, 1997.

Activities in TOF Resource Assessment

As said previously, TOF resource is not subject to any systematic assessment and is not taken into account at its real importance in the decision making process regarding natural resource management. But data on TOF is needed for sustainable development. FRA 2000 will enlarge its assessment to trees-outside-forest and will help the countries to strengthen their national capacity to proceed to these assessments. However, data related to TOF is:

· scattered;

· of diverse a nature and quality (e.g. revenue and product flow marketed on international market);

· gathered for different objectives (e.g. tax perception, fuelwood supply, marketing study);

· available in different institutions and organisations (e.g. palm oil exported revenue in agriculture department, fodder biomass in agro-forestry research institutions, home-garden and multipurpose tree cover by bilateral projects, wood production by hedgerow plantations) data exist that inter-sectoral and integrated approach will have to consider.

The EC-FAO partnership project propose to the countries of the region and those present to discuss these questions and see how to develop assessment methods including pilot-country studies. It is hoped that during the next months it will proceed to the compilation of conceptual and operational preliminary information on:

· review of the FAO definition of TOF and provide technical information on terminology and classification (systems and species, distribution, structure; land cover/use) used by FRA and other programme/institutions, of resource and related products in the environmental, economic and social context.

· review the available information at country, sub-regional and regional level related to TOF: (i) assessment and inventory methods; (ii) data basis (to analyse information such as needs, uses and potential of resources and products, inventory methods).

· provide various countries of the region the list of institutions involved in different aspects related to TOF (resources and products) assessment such as in national planning, trade statistics, forest and agriculture assessment, environmental impact assessment. Why and where and how these institutions are related? What is the definition used?

It is hoped to discuss the results of these studies during an International Meeting on TOF (probably in Rome, end of February 1999) which would invite institutions and resource person of ACP countries, other regions of the world and different departments of FAO to discuss how to combine our efforts to implement the DG-VIII project, contribute to FRA 2000 report and provide general orientation to the development of the topic. An International Consultative Group would be created to support a better integration of TOF resources into sustainable natural resource management

1 Source: CATIE - `Tree resources outside the forest: Development of methods for assessment and monitoring of natural resources to support regional planning, with study areas in Central America- 1999-2002'. Notes on EC-DG XII project.

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