6. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE REGENERATION/ PRODUCTION AND UTILISATION OF WOODFUEL
6.1. Sustainable Regeneration
Forest management for sustainable regeneration must consider the type of product and/or service that is envisaged from a forest. Chidumayo (1997), has categorised products and services as follows:
In his study on Miombo woodlands, Chidumayo (1997), has further suggested the following measures for sustainable regeneration:
**The time of cutting/harvesting should be during the months of May to August if maximum production during the first growing season after leaf flush is to be achieved.
**In old growth miombo, clear-cutting close to the ground should be encouraged in order to improve pole and timber value of regrowth stands.
**To minimise negative environmental impacts, clear-cutting in miombo should be done in strips or coupes with shelterbelts. After the coupes have regrown, the shelterbelts can then be cleared.
**In selectively cut areas, trees should either be clear-cut thereafter, or, trees around the cut stumps should be cleared to create larger canopy gaps to improve regeneration.
**In order to reduce the damaging effects of fire and to promote forest production, the following measures are suggested:
1. In cut over areas, discarded wood debris, if not used for other purposes should be piled away from stumps and patches of dense saplings and then burnt.
2. In coppiced areas, early burning should be carried out for 10 - 15 years (period required for leaf area recovery) to prevent late dry season fires.
3. Old growth and other regrowth woodlands should be burnt almost annually before leaf flush (September), to minimise damage to new
4. Foliage and to reduce the build up of fuel biomass which occurs in unburned forests.
For plantation regeneration, species selection should be the first step and this will depend on goods to be produced by plantation trees e.g. timber, woodfuel, fruits, etc. Suitability of species for plantation will depend on:
1. Seed availability
2. Seed viability
3. Seed germination rate and
4. Seedling survival rates.
For seed collection and storage, the following should be ensured:
Collection of ripe seeds from ripe fruits/pods. In a Miombo woodland, fruits of the majority of trees ripen during the period of August - December.
Mother trees should have desired characteristics.
Seeds should be collected during mast years when many trees fruit to ensure adequate genetic variation.
Extract seeds from fruits/pods by drying and threshing. Sometimes roasting of spiky pods, or softening pods by soaking in hot water may be desirable before opening the pods. Soaking in water for a day or two to remove pulp can clean pulpy fruits.
After extraction, seeds should be sorted to remove dirt, chaff and damaged seeds, by sieving, or hand picking or floatation in water. Non viable seeds float in water and can easily be discarded.
If seeds are not immediately required for sowing, they should be stored in tightly sealed and labelled containers. The label should show the species, provenance and date of collection of the seed.
For long term storage, seeds should be kept in a cool place (0 - 200C) and stored in plastic containers to avoid water vapour uptake.
Nursery techniques should follow laid down procedures for raising miombo trees.
Enrichment planting should be encouraged in charcoal production coupes.
Recommendations based on Chidumayo (1997).
6.2. Sustainable Utilisation
To sustain woodfuel utilisation, the following would have to be implemented:
Critical analyses and/or assessments will have to be done on woodfuel utilisation trends for households, institutions such as schools and hospitals, light industries such as tobacco drying, fish smoking, bakeries, bricks production, etc. This will enable us to make calculations on energy consumption in urban and rural areas in order to determine the real ground situation. This kind of assessment will be critical for wood energy planning and sustainable production.
Charcoal production should be done in efficient kilns, or better still, wood should be burnt directly without first transforming it into charcoal. An energy policy specifically focussed on biomass production should be developed.
Other alternative and renewable energy sources should be encouraged. Alternatives such as solar, hydro-electricity, biogas and petroleum products. Hydro-electricity can be achieved through a Government induced electrification programme.
Woodfuel production, supply and consumption should be taken into account in urban planning, architecture and housing.
Woodfuel accounting and auditing should be a way of determining actual costs of consumption vis-à-vis production.
Devices for the conversion of woodfuel into heat through burning should be improved upon, or where need be, redesigned. The devices should be such that woodfuel is burnt efficiently and heat transferred to perform the intended tasks.
Woodfuel technologies and those for alternative renewable sources should be developed within the framework of the local situation.
Government policy should formulate and support macro policies that promote small- scale, more sustainable local technologies. Such technologies should bear in mind that local people have knowledge that can lead to solutions of the problems they are facing. This knowledge should be evaluated by community members themselves in the light of their own development objectives and then decisions taken whether or not to upgrade existing technologies or to introduce new ones.
Development agents should therefor take time to:
Understand the social-cultural and economic structure of a society, which are essential before introduction or development of new technologies.
New technologies have to adapt to people’s needs as perceived by them, rather than first developed with expectation that people will adapt.
Participatory approaches at all levels, but especially at working level, are necessary for the development and dissemination of new technologies.
Communities should be able to sustain new technologies. This can be achieved by building on locally available resources.
Careful monitoring and evaluation is necessary to avoid negative effects and to guarantee long term benefits.
Woodfuel promotion programs should be seen to fall in line with other urgent needs such as food, shelter and water.
Woodfuel assessment surveys should be undertaken through a combination of remote sensing and ground truthing techniques.