This information was submitted on the occasion of the Mutare workshop in December 1998. As indicated earlier, this paper is also to confirm and complete, if necessary, the information mentioned in FAO working paper on "NWFP Statistics" submitted on the occasion of the Mutare workshop. This chapter therefore provides more details on activities of the Directorate of forestry in the country.
The Colonial policy of forest exploitation, especially in communal areas, Tsumeb and Grootfontein districts that started in 1930's continued unabated until Namibia obtained independence in 1990. Poorly staffed and divided structure of the forestry service in Namibia prior to independence, as well as the country's liberation struggle, prevented the implementation of forestry development activities in large areas of Namibia, particularly in the northern areas where forest resources are naturally available.
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 key issues of forestry development in Namibia.
New forest legislation was completed in 1997 and is awaiting approval by Parliament. At present, the first 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 BSc Degrees. The infrastructural development is almost complete. Forestry data collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination is in progress. To date the Directorate of Forestry has fifteen (15) offices throughout the country.
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.
The Directorate of Forestry is implementing sub-components of a Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme in cooperation with the Government of Finland. The overall programme's 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.
The project is sponsored by both the Namibian and the Danish Government through DANCED. This is a pilot project looking at the development of community forestry practices and extension development with the involvement of local communities.
This project is supported by the German government through SADC - Forestry Sector Technical Coordination Unit. It is one of four pilot projects being carried out in the SADC region. This particular one in Namibia is based in Okongo Constituency east of Ohangwena region.
This project is based in Kavango, Caprivi and Tsumkwe District of Otjozondjupa region. The project is to start its activities in June 1999.
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.
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 main institute 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.
For routine operations, such as nursery operations, issuing wood harvesting and export permits, 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.
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.
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