The outputs of the group discussions are as follows:
Working Group 1: The role of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in community forestry for poverty alleviation
The followings are the recommendations of the group for the development and sustainable management of NTFPs towards poverty alleviation:
review of current forest policies relevant to the use of NTFPs with particular reference to tenure, user rights, permit, land use, credit, taxation, business, conservation, etc.
review of legislation supportive of NTFPs development, sustainability and conservation
focus on the development of NTFPs through effective "farmers organisations"
documentation of high value NTFPs commonly used by local communities in the different countries of Asia Pacific
documentation of indigenous knowledge, such as cultivation, management, harvesting and processing, of NTFPs
documentation of various advanced techniques of cultivation, management, harvesting and processing, of NTFPs
documentation of various products made from NTFPs and their demands at domestic and international markets
development of an appropriate "Marketing Information System" for NTFPs
exchange information on the domestication of NTFPs, techniques and experiences
explore technology transfer mechanisms for transferring R&D outputs to local communities
establishing an international network of stakeholders
Working Group 2: The role of gender in community forestry
The group identified the following activities and recommended several possible strategies:
Mainstreaming gender concerns at government level
- establish women federations
- appoint gender focal points in key institutes
- setting performance indicators
Understanding segregated information about different gender roles, responsibilities, values and work loads
- capacity building of concerned communities
- participatory assessment and planning
- demonstrations that are convincingly impressive and relevant to gender and forestry
- exchange visits and role models
- in-depth research on the role of gender
Several additional recommendations came from the participants during the plenary session. They are as follows:
Dr. Ravishankar - recommended strengthening the linkage between community forestry and biodiversity and promoting environmental protection for sustainability.
Dr. Li Weichang - discussed the need for gathering and dissemination of information. He stressed the need for networks to carry out such functions.
Dr. F. Eslava - recommended that research studies should be formulated to find answers to questions like how much land is needed for community forestry, what is the sustainable land area per household, and the need for strengthening farmers organizations or cooperatives to improve reporting of production data and other indicators such as organizational efficiency, management, degree of loyalty of the members and so on. He also pointed out the importance of identifying training needs for the various groups, such as government officials, NGOs, community leaders and farmers.
Dr. C. Veer - proposed a framework for sharing countries experiences, probably under the auspices of an international or regional body such as APAFRI or FAO.
The participants at the workshop agreed that only good community forestry could alleviate poverty in a sustainable manner, but that good community forestry cannot exist without good policy support. Various suggestions came out of the discussions:
There is a need to develop criteria and indicators to evaluate community forestry, and resources in the region should be pooled to define and/or share effective criteria and indicators.
The key components in community forestry, besides NTFPs, should also include agroforestry, reforestation, ecotourism and hydroelectricity generation.
Existing policies would need to be reviewed in order to provide better incentives to encourage community forestry as well as improve the sustainability of community forestry programmes and activities.
There is a need to further strengthen information exchange, including documenting demonstration trials and successful models.
More attention should be given to the role of gender, the contributions of the womenfolk and their social welfare.
There is a need for institutionalizing the study of folk knowledge and learning from the people.
Transfer of technology and improved market access would further boost trade in NTFPs, but a balance must be maintained between commercialization and conservation.
Realizing that income generation is but only one of the many tools to alleviate poverty, community forestry must be developed encompassing other components such as infrastructure development, improved education opportunities, good governance, and improved social and economic stability.