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Although it may be argued that the country is not experiencing deforestation at a national level, there are localised critical deforestation problems particularly in the densely populated southern and eastern parts of the country. This is evidenced by the critical shortages of fuelwood in those areas where they have to purchase fuelwood and the prices are rising sharply. This has provided a good market for alternative sources of fuel such as paraffin. But these substitutes turn out to be expensive for the poor households who continue to collect live wood by cutting and burning. Thus these deforestation problems may not be deliberate but actions of people in a desperate situation of poverty. It is as such very important that when institutional mechanisms for forest resource conservation and management involve community participation as much as possible. Policies should be formulated with the people and not for the people. Of course in Botswana, consultations occur with local communities and institutions such as Village Development Committtees (VDCs). But as Magole (1997) puts it, the involvement of local communities and institutions is just to use them as vehicles of implementation of policies drawn from above and do not necessarily have power to influence decision making of forest resource conservation and management.

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