STATUS AND USE OF FORESTRY STATISTICS IN NAMIBIA
Mr. Moses Chakanga
Principal Forester, National Forest Service
The Directorate of Forestry in Namibia was established in 1990. At present it is still in its early developmental stages. The Directorate produced the first Forestry Strategic plan for Namibia in 1996. In August 1997 the Directorate began implementation of the Strategic Plan of the Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme. The Strategic Plan is based on ecological, environmental, cultural, and socio-economic considerations and it considers `Production, Protection and Participation' as the three important issues of forestry development in Namibia.
New forest legislation was completed in 1997 and is awaiting approval by Parliament. At present the national forest policy of Namibia is under review.
The main challenges being faced by the directorate are manpower development, infrastructure development and forest resource data collection. Several forestry staff are in colleges and universities to obtain Forestry Diplomas and BS Degrees. The infrastructural development is almost complete. Forestry data collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination is in progress.
2. INSTITUTIONS DEALING WITH FORESTRY DATA COLLECTION
2.1. Directorate of forestry
The Directorate of Forestry is the main institution dealing with Forestry data collection in Namibia. These activities are handled by the Directorate's three Divisions, namely, Management, Research and Training & Extension (Planning and Extension). Under the Management Division there are three Regions (North East, North-West and South-Central) which are managed by Forestry District Officers. The District Forest Officers are key personnel in direct contact with local communities.
2.2 Namibia Finland forestry programme
The Directorate of Forestry is implementing sub-components of a Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme in cooperation with the Government of Finland. The overall programme objective is to ensure an increased role of forestry in the socio-economic development of Namibia through continuous implementation and development of sustainable forest management practices.
The Programme has four components: Public Sector Forestry Capacity Building, Community Forestry, Integrated Fire Management and Environmental Forestry. The Public Sector Forestry Capacity Building Component has three sub-components: Institutional Development, Training at Ogongo Agricultural College and National Forest Inventory.
2.3 National remote sensing centre
The national Remote Sensing Centre is involved in the development of GIS applications. The centre produces a variety of maps for different clients including presentation of forest statistics in map form for the Directorate of Forestry.
2.4. Other institutions
Other institutions dealing indirectly with forestry data collection are: the National Botanical Research Institute (herbarium), Directorate of Environmental Affairs (environmental Impact Assessments), Ministry of Trade and Industry ( forest products import and exports).
3. IN-COUNTRY CAPACITY
The main weakness of the Directorate of Forestry is the shortage of qualified local forestry staff. Out of the 123 positions of professional and technical staff 65 (or 52.8%) are filled and 57 are vacant. The Directorate of Forestry, as the major institution directly involved in forestry data collection is in the process of developing its human resource capacity to be able to deal with data collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination. This is particularly essential in the area of forest research to increase the human resource capacity to manage and perform scientific research to produce data and information to support the various forest management activities of the Directorate.
4. FREQUENCY OF DATA COLLECTION
For routine operations such as nursery operations, issuing wood harvesting and export permits etc. data is collected daily. In the case of forest inventory, data collection will be repeated after 15-20 years while for local areas requiring forest management information, the data will be gathered when appropriate. For other components such as Community Forestry, Environmental Forestry, Integrated Forest Fire Management the data is collected when appropriate.
5. THE CONDITION OF DATA-DISSEMINATION
The forestry statistics information is mainly disseminated through the Directorate's monthly, quarterly and annual progress reporting system. The routine statistics, inter alia, include Number of: Plants raised, Plants sold, Permits issued, Plants for Own use/donated; Revenue (N$) generated from: Plant sales, Wood harvest permits, Fines, Timber contracts, exports of forest products etc.
The data from the Forestry Inventory, Community Forestry, Environmental Forestry, Integrated Forest Fire Management is disseminated through the various reports produced by the respective components. The Forest Inventory Sub-component has so far produced 4 forest inventory reports, (West Tsumkwe in Otjozondjupa region; Nkurenkuru Concession in Kavango Region; Otjinene/Okakarara districts in Omaheke region; and Ongandjera Community Forest in Oshana Region). This Sub-component is in the process of preparing a report for Caprivi where 861 tree plots were measured in both East and West Caprivi between September-December 1997.
6. USE OF INFORMATION
The information developed is used by the Directorate of Forestry and other institutions for planning various forestry and natural resource management activities in order to develop the forestry sector in Namibia.