The knowledge gap and challenges to sustainable management of secondary forests outlined above is bound to vary between countries. It is therefore necessary for each country to appraise and focus on the most critical issues and to implement research and development programmes in an incremental manner according to national peculiarities and priorities. Networking between countries on an eco-regional basis would greatly enhance this effort, and should be considered.
The following priority research themes are deemed important for addressing extant constraints and challenges and generating information for planning, and decision-making:
- Regular forest resource inventories to generate information on the forest
structure, composition and available timber and other resources, and changes
over time, of both primary and secondary forests: occurrence and species
distribution with possible involvement of remote sensing technology and GIS,
generating information on growth and yield under different sites.
- The regeneration of secondary forest including currently valuable trees
species, examining mechanisms involved in competitive, interactive processes
and factors influencing plant distribution and succession in secondary
- Studies on the biology and ecology of key ecological and economical
species in relation to resource management practices, for example fecundity,
phenology, seed biology and germination, and seedling establishment and tree
- New opportunities for promoting consumptive and non-consumptive use of
secondary forest resources particularly NWFPs, and specialized ecotourism
packages focused on hiking, game and bird watching, camping, wilderness
adventures and opportunity to study nature.
- Suitability of reduced impact logging methods at forest management unit
- Methodologies for comprehensive assessment and analysis of forests
contribution to development (forest resource accounting).
- Innovative policy alternatives (land-use, economic and financial policies)
to provide a win-win situation for national resource management and to support
promotion of (i) forestry sector's contributions to national development,
taking account of the values of wood and non-wood products, environmental and
ecological benefits, (ii) opportunities for improved forest utilization,
marketing of lesser-used species and prevention of waste.
- Studies on the relationship between people and plants exploring detailed
insights into the complexity of the social, economic, political and ecological
processes involved in these temporally and spatially heterogeneous systems.
- Human-wildlife-forest conflicts in land-use in forests and along forest
- Implementing criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management,
under the African Timber Organization, the International Timber and Trade
Organization or the Dry-zone African processes.