Plenary presentation of results of country papers in poster discussions
Based on the presentations of the country papers during working group discussions, the most relevant issues regarding secondary forests were identified and discussed. Participants in the various groups selected priority issues which they considered were necessary for developing strategies for the management of secondary forest and presented the results of their work in plenary.
The following is a summary of the results by groups.
Institutional and political aspects
1. National-level framework
National and provincial forest programmes could be a good tool to pilot and enhance institutional reforms with respect to the management of this resource.
Reforms to the forest administration are needed to promote private forestry sector cooperation.
Restructuring forest departments into forest services as part of civil service reform.
Privatization and structural adjustment processes increase pressure on forests.
Rights and responsibilities of local communities and other actors (government) should be spelled out (such as benefit and responsibility sharing).
Re-orientation concerning institutional involvement in secondary forest management (fewer conservative foresters needed).
Policy can be changed but care must be taken that such will not empower villagers.
Participation should involve local communities through multi-stakeholder processes and trust based on experience derived from cases of community forest management.
There is a need to better implement policy legislation (there are good policies/laws but they are not implemented).
Secondary forests lack recognition at political/ decision levels.
There is a need for management guidelines for secondary forests.
The same applies for policies, legal instruments and financial resources.
Unclear definitions of legal status and land rights curtail the management of secondary forests in the region.
Unclear charcoal policy (dry regions) and current permit requirements to harvest trees from a secondary forest impact negatively on the sustainability of this resource.
The contribution of secondary forests in poverty reduction alleviation programmes is not taken into consideration.
There is a need for information flow and networking to enhance the management of secondary forests.
5. Land use
Land use planning, individual risk assessment of forest conversion/agricultural settlement.
Policies - national/provincial/district - are necessary for better use of this resource.
Participation is difficult but necessary when deciding on land use change issues affecting secondary forests.
Land use is an issue requiring inter-sectoral participation and decision making.
The integration of land use systems may lead to avoiding conflicts (between agriculture and forestry) and at the same time generate the enhancement of synergy.
6. International-level institutional framework
Not enough attention is given to secondary forests in international discussions, agreements and conventions.
Likewise in technical assistance programmes such as the Overseas Development Authority (ODA).
Gender issues are not well addressed in management plans and policies.
Technical and ecological aspects
1. Knowledge and information
There is a lack of good forestry-related quality data sources (FRA of FAO is a dependable source).
The basis for management plans are widely missing.
The ecology of both dry and wetland forests is deficient or lacking.
2. Land use
Land use planning must be considered when deciding on technical and ecological issues related to the sustainable management of secondary forests.
Technical land use planning is rarely practised.
There is a need to integrate land use systems in order to minimize conflicts and at the same time enhance synergies between agriculture and forestry.
In order to manage secondary forests efficiently, it is necessary to improve the capacity of countries, both in installed capacity and in the number of trained technical staff.
Local communities also need to be properly trained especially if in charge of managing the forest.
Management practices (especially logging) may have an impact on the sustainable secondary forest management; therefore activities need to be planned well.
The management of secondary forests - as of any other type - should be participative and responsibilities should be shared.
The management system selected for this resource will depend on the objectives of the management.
There is a lack of management plans and when elaborated there are deficiencies in their implementation.
Existing management guidelines are either non-existence or the management tends to be implemented ad hoc.
5. Ecology/environmental services
These forests can play an important role in carbon sequestration.
They can also complement efforts leading to soil erosion and conservation.
Likewise they are important to maintain water cycles.
Secondary forests can improve biodiversity conservation and restoration.
1. Land tenure and ownership
Having clear land right will enhance the management of secondary forests.
2. Gender issues
Privileges to gender on issues such as tax waiver on branch wood and fruit collection are needed for the sustainability of the resource.
Defining gender participation is important as this could lead to defining who plants trees and who benefits.
Marketing aspects need to be considered when managing these forests.
The lack of negotiating power among those managing the resource often leads to mismanaging of the resource.
One way to enhance sustainability is by determining a value-added of processing secondary forests products, such as NWFP/NTFPs.
The contribution of secondary forests to alleviating poverty can be significant.
5. Demographic causes of SF
Migration to forest areas and reserves, along with subsequent population pressure towards the resource can influence, both negatively and positively, the establishment and growth of secondary forests.
6. Costs and benefits
The benefits of managing this resource by local people and how are they shared are not clearly known.
Role and importance of farm forestry in providing functions and environmental services and forest goods needs to be assessed.
Valuation of forest resources not achieved.
Lack of information and valuation methodology.
Costs of the management of secondary forests needs be properly assessed.
1. Ecology and management
Fire is a management tool if used properly but at the same time it may become a vis-à-vis a hazard.
The importance of this type of forest in protecting fragile ecosystems is underestimated.
2. Definition and typology
Forest types, definitions need to be clarified with respect to land use history and age (note: on this issue the group was divided as to prioritization).
3. Technical management
Are there sufficient technical intervention options available? Is enrichment planting the only option for improving secondary forests?
Access to useful information on secondary forests is lacking.
Available technical management information is not adequately used.
There is a need to generate more technical and ecological information at species and ecosystem levels.
5. Role of animals
The impact of wild and domesticated animals on the regeneration and development of forests must be better understood and taken into account.
The role of fauna in secondary forests is very important.
Secondary forests play an important ecological role in animal habitats.
6. Forest product processing
Technical issues of small-scale enterprise development (employment/income).
Low recovery rates of the processing of products and high waste levels in harvesting secondary forests call for better and more efficient equipment and technology.
1. Political priorities and policy
Secondary forests are not prioritized in government budget allocations.
Lack of political support very often results in lack of allocation of funding.
Is lack of funding due to poor governance?
Cross-sectoral policy harmonization and coordination at national level is inadequate (TFAP/NFP, environmental strategies, economic policies, etc.).
2. Land use planning and land tenure
Land use planning must be strengthened vis-à-vis objectives and functions for management of the different areas.
Land tenure and tree ownership need to be addressed to combat deforestation, encourage tree planting and management of secondary forests.
3. Conflict management
Conflict management mechanisms must be improved (what should they be in order to be effective?).
Conflict management needs be considered in negotiations - between government and communities - related to the ownership of forest lands.
Illegal harvesting of secondary forests must be controlled and best management practices introduced.
4. Organization of information and communication
Available information does not reach end-users.
How can pilot experiences on successful management models be widely disseminated?
5. Institutional arrangements
Restructuring of roles, rules and responsibilities need to be better defines in order to assure sustainability of management activities.
Arrangements on benefit-sharing and access to communities is not well defined.
6. Participation and community management
Stakeholder participation in management and sharing of benefits, costs and responsibilities/obligations can enhance management.
Decentralization and community management are necessary.
How can communities be more efficiently involved in the management of the resource
7. Capacity building
Capacity building at all levels needs strengthening and improvement.
1. Socio-economic importance
The socio-economic importance of secondary forests is underestimated.
The indirect (local) value of secondary forests is usually not quantified in GNP.
The role of secondary forests in providing NWFPs (including faunal products) must be further clarified.
2. Farm and land use vis-à-vis secondary forests
Is the role and relations of secondary forests as part of farming systems and overall land use well understood?
Look into existing and potential conflicts between agriculturists and pastoralists on local levels.
Encroachment is a socio-economic problem affecting the management of the resource.
3. Stakeholder analysis
Better analysis of stakeholders and actors is needed.
4. Enterprise development
Enterprise development related to the products, goods and benefits of secondary forest products (income and employment) must be taken into account in the efforts in developing management strategies for this resource.
Ecological and technical issues
The distinction between primary and secondary forest is not clear in dry regions. It is more applicable in the moist regions; a separate management strategy is better.
There is a need for a clearer and more coherent definition of secondary forest.
2. Management plans
Simple and applicable management plans are necessary but resources need to be allocated in order to implement the latter.
Plans should be participatory (owners and users of resources to be involved); forestry department should play a guiding role.
Plans should be iterative given the dynamic changing o f these forests and shorter-term planning horizon of users and donors.
Plans lying on shelves, need to be used; more small-scale pilot phase projects instead of drawing out full plans.
Look at existing plans and research knowledge.
Bottom-up planning with larger framework provided from above can yield better products.
In managing the resource, indigenous knowledge and local needs need to be taken into consideration.
3. Management strategies
Is there anything particular about secondary forests to merit special strategies?
Special harvesting techniques for secondary forests may be required.
NTFPs - single or simple structure with heavy under storey in the beginning - this affects the product (such as mushroom) availability and so may need different management strategies.
Improper management activities may enhance natural disturbance processes.
4. Management objectives
Should reaching back to primary forest situation be the ultimate goal?
Who decides what? Management should be a collaborative effort among all stakeholders.
It is difficult to transform a secondary forest into a primary one because of continuous interaction and it is like aiming at a moving target since primary forests are also constantly changing. One can aim at improving the productivity of secondary forests to sustain the human-forest interaction.
Political and institutional issues
1. Lack of information
There is a gap in the availability of socio-economic and ecological information - there is need for an interface.
The lack of a proper definition of secondary forest affects getting the right information.
Lack of research coordination and redundancy, limited sharing of information and synthesis, redundancy; there is demand for networking, dissemination.
The process of management planning can help to identify the information gaps.
2. Land tenure and policy
Local people may not always be the best managers, so management should be collaborative. Drastic and/or improperly planned handovers not of the resource is not recommended; it should be more smooth and gradual with capacity building and institutional strengthening included.
It seems easier to resolve land tenure conflicts related to secondary forests -commonly considered less valuable economically and ecologically - so this resource could be a good starting point for handing over forest to private/small scale community initiatives.
Tragedy of the commons - communal areas tend to be more degraded than state forests. There is a need to develop a sense of ownership and bring the community together.
Exclusion of local people from obtaining the benefits in state forest areas leads to illegal forest extraction and overall mismanagement of the resource.
3. Need for specific policy focus for secondary forests
Different policies for secondary forests are not required in some countries - such as Namibia, South Africa, Malawi - because they are either small in size or there is no primary forest. All forests are important and covered by existing policies in these countries.
In Ghana (where high forests exist) secondary forests need a separate focus because of different management requirements.
1. Social and environmental benefits
Valuation of products and services (including informal ones) is important.
Valuation is not enough, as it may depend on the willingness to pay. Beneficiaries have to be targeted. The case from Ghana: forest department attempted to charge the water department for forest services.
Sequestration, biodiversity conservation - the valuation and internalization of these benefits are difficult. Is it really different for secondary and primary forests?
Policy and institutional issues
There is a need to promoting the sustainable management of secondary forests through institutional arrangements at field level.
Developing and strengthening secondary forest management through capacity building, including research and empowerment of local communities will improve management and conservation.
Integrating the issue of secondary forests into national development plans is a "must" in order for this resource to be given enough attention.
Developing socio-economic strategies that may reflect the benefits, goods and services of secondary forests so that local communities may benefit from them should be undertaken.
There is a need for adaptive management techniques in order to reflect the dynamics of secondary forests systems, the various objectives and indigenous versus scientific knowledge.
Concept/definition of secondary forest is not clear; there is a need to categorize and/or classify it in the African context.