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II. Sustainable management of the natural resource base

1. Integrated coastal area management
2. Fisheries resources
3. Land and biotic resources
4. Rural energy resources

1. Integrated coastal area management

The continental shelves and coastal ecosystems of small island developing States are of major economic significance for settlement, subsistence and commercial agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Demands on coastal resources are endangering the long-term supply of these resources: large parts of coastal areas are being polluted by local or upland resources, fisheries over-exploited and fish habitats degraded, coastal belt mangroves cut, wetlands drained, coral reefs destroyed, fresh water aquifers are subject to depletion and salinity, biodiversity conservation is threatened, and opportunities for aesthetic enjoyment of scenery reduced. Of particular concern to low-lying small islands is damage to natural systems such as coral reefs, dune lands, and coastal mangrove belts, which significantly reduces the protection they provide against natural disasters of marine origin (i.e. tsunamis, tidal surges and wave erosion).

The disruption of small islands societies' traditions sometimes by policy action or strong external factors through accelerated development, demographic growth, high rates of urbanization and often strong emigration fluxes are weakening traditional mechanisms of control, thus rendering coastal resources increasingly vulnerable to over-exploitation. Added to these sources of disruption are new problems such as more frequent natural disasters and rapid environmental changes which result in the degradation of terrestrial and marine habitats in coastal areas.

Increasingly in recent years, it is being understood that the search for solutions to conflicting demands in coastal areas must involve the various users and administrations concerned. With respect to land tenure, historically, small islands featured hierarchies of land ownership rights from which social status was derived. Environmental regulations limiting land use and controlling access to natural resources have been challenged by landowners who interpret any attempt to limit land rights as a challenge to their social status. The involvement and support of traditional leaders in introducing sustainable development practices is also necessary.

By the mid-1980s, the weakness of conventional sectoral planning in reaching sustainable solutions to conflicting demands for coastal resources was apparent. In response, multi-sectoral, integrated approaches to coastal area management began to be developed, in developed countries primarily, but also in some developing ones. UNCED gave support to this process by stressing the importance for small island developing States to develop national policies and management capabilities for multi-sectoral use of coastal areas.

Conservation and sustainable management of resources of coastal areas is known as integrated coastal area management (ICAM). This offers the means to balance the competing demands of different users of the same resources and to manage the resources sustainably.

Most archipelagic developing States have not established systems for the evaluation of their resources, nor the institutional and technical capacities to formulate and implement sound multiple-use strategies. A characteristic common to all small island developing States is the small number of skilled and experienced people available in most fields of activity. Finding people with the necessary experience to staff a government institution responsible for coordinating multiple use of resources, and taking an appropriate role in pro-active management will tax many island administrations.

Coordinating between sectors will be easier if line ministries and users of natural resources recognise their respective roles in the ICAM process and the impact of their activities on resource users in the sector itself and in other sectors. They must also have the capacity to monitor and assess the effect of the activities of other sectors on them.

Though of limited extents, the ecologies of most small islands are complex and varied. Detailed analysis of agro-ecological conditions is therefore required to provide an adequate form of integration and define improved multiple use of the natural resources.

The agriculture, forestry and fisheries sub-sectors are the chief users of resources in the coastal areas of small island developing States. To assist line ministries in their tasks of designing and implementing ICAM, guidelines such as those being prepared by FAO on the integration of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in integrated coastal area management will be most helpful- Guidelines can also be of assistance for planners and resource users at sub-sectoral level. FAO has also prepared guidelines on topics such as the environmental management of coastal aquaculture, the mapping and inventory of mangroves, and coastal rice culture.

FAO considers it important that appropriate emphasis be placed on specific training in integrated management for line agency staff. In this connection, it is collaborating with other UN agencies in the plan for human resources development and capacity-building for the planning and management of coastal and marine areas.

FAO has pioneered the concept of integrated coastal fisheries management (ICFM) as part of ICAM. The basis of this concept is twofold. First, the sea has long been seen as a bottomless sink into which flow pollutants produced on land which degrade marine habitats. Second, due to the open access nature of most fisheries, in many developing countries, small-scale fisheries become the employer of last resort when there is a surplus of unskilled labour in land-based sectors. This results in decreasing yields from already over-stressed fisheries. The open access nature of the resource also facilitates entry of industrial vessels into artisanal fisheries, contributing to overfishing and often resulting in social conflict. In many cases, it is in the interest of the fishery sector, far more than any other, to take a proactive role in initiating integrated management of natural resource use.

"Integrated Coastal Fisheries Management in Trinidad and Tobago"

Within a broader framework of ICAM, the UNDP/FAO project (1993-94) addresses the inter-relationship between fisheries management and other sectors in coastal areas of the Gulf of Paria including: urban development and housing, reclamation of wetlands for agriculture, run-off of agricultural inputs, depletion of natural forests in upland areas, hydrocarbon exploration and processing, and shipping. Data gathering and research for a better scientific understanding of coastal resources, socio-economic and cultural aspects of fishing communities and other users of the coastal and marine areas, greater awareness about the management needs of the fisheries and the coastal area, and the joint action of a number of government (local and national) agencies and users are the main components of this pilot project.

2. Fisheries resources

Fisheries within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs)
High seas fisheries

Fisheries within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs)

All small island developing States heavily depend on renewable marine resources, degree of dependence, however, is especially high in coralline atolls which have much smaller agriculture and other economic activities than large islands. However, all small island developing States face the same challenge of implementing sustainable development strategies for their renewable marine resources.

A large number of fish species are found in the EEZs of small islands; in some cases, more than 1000 species have been identified. In coastal, inshore areas (i.e. the area generally within national territorial limits), most fish species are biologically fragile, and in unmanaged fisheries or damaged environments, risk being over-exploited.

The use of living marine resources of these countries can be broadly classified into five types of activity:

* artisanal fishing for subsistence and supply of local markets;
* artisanal and semi-industrial fishing directed towards resources for export and/or the tourist trade;
* industrial fishing for highly migratory species (mostly by foreign fleets);
* aquaculture; and
* recreational fishing and diving.

Fishing for subsistence and for the supply of local markets is the traditional fishing activity of small island developing States. Though single species fisheries (e.g. mullet) are often targeted on a seasonal basis, many of these are mixed-species fisheries. Inshore resources close to urban areas, or population concentrations around semi-enclosed lagoons (e.g. in small island developing States composed of clusters of atolls), tend to be heavily overfished and in dire need of sustainable management. There are great differences in management requirements between countries, in part due to the large variety of fishing communities and consumers. For instance, some South Pacific countries with large indigenous populations maintain traditional community-based systems of user rights; elsewhere, such systems have all but disappeared. Also, whereas for some small island developing States the ocean is the only source of protein, for some larger volcanic highlands, land-based protein sources play a much larger role. The main management issues for this type of activity concern resource allocation conflicts, unsustainable fishing practices, and enforcement of harvest-control and conservation regulations. Often due to lack of management, these fisheries are perceived as the last resort for those who cannot succeed or participate in other fisheries or economic activities. Pressure on these fisheries can therefore vary according to job opportunities in other fisheries, and to the performance of the general economy of the country

Since economic returns from this activity are low, research into improved management practices has tended to be neglected. However, such long-term research and technical cooperation programmes as there are (Coastal Resources Programme of the South Pacific Commission, resource assessment and management initiatives of FAO/WECAFC and CARICOM in the Caribbean) have been heralded as essential to fill this gap and face the problem of overfishing.

Fisheries for the tourist sector and/or export are a relatively recent and rapid development in most small island developing States. This has often resulted in significant biological overfishing due to the desire to benefit from the potential by high value of the harvest. These fisheries are mainly carried out by local fishermen and thus more of the benefits remain within the country. They suffer from the instability of prices for the products on world markets. Indeed, the need to earn hard currency through export, and the will to minimise social conflicts, has often led most governments to adopt resource management policies based on minimal intervention. Many island governments, like most other coastal countries, did not foresee the need for careful management of the resources when the fishery was developing, and today the need has become urgent in the face of diminishing stocks. Active management of this type of resource at national level (or at regional level where this is justified) will greatly benefit small island developing States by allowing the stocks to rebuild.

Coastal fisheries in most small island developing States are small-scale in nature. However, there are some industrial fisheries which target high-value resources such as shrimp. Though the catch taken by industrial fleets tends to be small (often less than 1,500 tonnes per annum), revenue earned from industrial fisheries exports contributes significantly to total export income.

Because of a shortage of expertise, and the difficulties of hard-pressed national fisheries administrations to manage inshore fisheries effectively, many small island developing States have little information concerning the dynamics or status of particular fish stocks and the socioeconomic aspects of fisheries organization and exploitation. Yet such information is essential for improving fisheries management. In order to address this lack of management information, by determining parameters and the status of inshore fish stocks, scientific investigation with a clearly defined, applied focus is needed. This investigation should be accompanied by appropriate socio-economic analysis of the activities of fishing communities.

Where the capacity of national fisheries administrations of small island developing States to undertake routine scientific and socio-economic assessments is limited, assistance can be obtained from regional organizations and national/regional universities; affiliation with foreign fisheries laboratories and research institutes can also be considered. Assistance, particularly of a shorter-term nature, might also be obtained from international organizations.

"Review of Traditional Fisheries Management Systems in the South Pacific"

Conventional fisheries management systems have had only limited impact m many small island developing States and the wisdom of promoting management systems based on traditional practice is now internationally recognised. Prior to colonial contact, most coastal communities in the South Pacific exercised strong and effective control over the exploitation of living marine resources within their communal jurisdictions. Though the effectiveness of these traditional fisheries management systems has been eroded, the foundations remain and could be used to rebuild more sustainable fisheries management in the region. While no universal management system based on traditional practice can be prescribed for the South Pacific, FAO is commissioning (1994) a series of applied studies of traditional practices as a means of securing basic information for use in the formulation and promotion of more effective fisheries management systems in the region.

It is being increasingly recognized that conventional approaches to fisheries management have failed to promote sustainable resource use. Where islands are populated largely by indigenous peoples, particularly in the South Pacific, efforts should be made to build on traditional methods of fisheries management such as regulated access to resources and exploitation by user groups.

Beyond territorial limits but within their EEZs, many small island developing States have substantial offshore oceanic resources, particularly tuna (Indian Ocean and the South Pacific) and other large-scale pelagic species such as swordfish (Caribbean). Some States known as high islands, being extensions of submerged mountain chains, do not have extensive coastal reef areas which characterize low islands such as atolls. Therefore, high island developing States depend on the pelagic fisheries resources within their EEZs for subsistence, industry development, and the generation of government revenue from the licensing of foreign fishing fleets.

Due to their feeding habits, oceanic stocks are sometimes tied to coastal fish communities. Three priority areas exist for the management of these resources:

* actively participating in the evaluation of the resource potential and in elaborating management strategies through regional cooperation on research and management;

* increasing the share of benefits to the island country derived from the extraction of resources by foreign countries within the island States' EEZ; and

* developing effective control and surveillance systems to monitor the activities of industrial fleets.

The first and third points generally require initial external assistance, but they should be regarded as costs of management by the coastal country to be passed on to the harvesting fleets in one form or another. Notwithstanding the difficulties involved, management of these resources through regional cooperation (e.g. by the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency) is one of the few examples of successful management to be found within the group of small island developing States. Management of these fisheries remains an issue for these States, as fishing licenses often represent a very large contribution to their foreign earnings. Oceanic fisheries are considered by many States as a priority area with high development potential.

"FAO-1ed Cooperative Research on Interactions in Pacific Tuna Fisheries"

Activities are undertaken under this project through a network of 10 Working Groups (TUNET) composed of 65 scientists from 23 countries, involving Pacific island countries. A comprehensive review of tuna in the region has been undertaken and on-going work includes an assessment of the bio-economic interactions in tuna fisheries, and an assessment of the impact of fisheries outside the EEZs on tuna resources inside the area. These assessments will help small island countries to further improve their resource management. Following the recommendations of the first FAO Expert Consultation in Noumea in 1991 and subsequent discussions within TUNET, the activities of the project focus particularly on skipjack and yellowfin tuna, emphasizing: improvement of existing methods and development of new methods for studying tuna fisheries interactions, and examination, testing and application of methods for addressing typical tuna fisheries interaction problems occurring in the Pacific- A second FAO Expert Consultation is expected to be held at the end of 1994 to: review and integrate the results of the research undertaken; summarize various approaches to studying tuna fisheries interactions; formulate detailed guidelines regarding their applicability and reliability; and make recommendations on future research.

The potential of coastal aquaculture, particularly for export markets, is limited and it is therefore not well developed, except for a few species in a small number of countries. Although aquaculture has been demonstrated to be technically viable in small island developing States (e.g. South Pacific), achieving the economies of scale needed to face the competition from high-volume producers like Indonesia and the Philippines, which are geographically better placed, is difficult. There are, however, a number of regional and national small island aquaculture programmes focusing on the production of shrimp, seaweed, etc. This is normally undertaken on a semi-intensive or extensive basis. Intensive culture is rare and, if introduced, could easily threaten island ecosystems, as has happened in a number of Asian countries.

In some islands, pearl culture has been demonstrated to be a feasible option, appropriate to local conditions and traditions, which poses few environmental threats. Pearl culture requires medium- to high-technology inputs and for this reason is undertaken on a semi-industrial basis. Clam culture, which is similarly well-suited and adaptable to island environments and small-scale culture, is practised in some islands. Clam culture can play an important future role in the re-seeding of reefs in island areas where clam resources, and notably giant clam resources, have been stripped by foreign fishermen (e.g. South Pacific islands).

High seas fisheries

High seas fishery resources are of special significance to small island developing States for food security and especially as a means of promoting and financing national economic development. In the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks are harvested extensively by small-scale fishermen, and in the latter two regions this is done by national and foreign fishing fleets in the EEZs of small island developing States and on the adjacent high seas.

Based on several legal and policy references (see box) and the internationally accepted criteria they contain, small island developing States on several counts qualify for special consideration with respect to high seas fisheries:

* they are all economically underdeveloped, and eight of them (Cape Verde, Comoros, Haiti, Kiribati, Maldives, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) were classified by the United Nations in 1991 as having "least developed status";

* all are environmentally vulnerable, especially those States consisting of atoll formations;

* by their nature and geographical location, most have a high rate of dependence on fisheries and the oceans;

* many have a high potential to exploit straddling fish stocks and highly migratory species, and

* all have strong fish eating traditions and high demand for fish products which constitute their main source of animal protein; some of them, for example Kiribati and the Maldives, have per capita consumption rates that are among the highest in the world (90-100 kg per year).

Straddling or highly migratory fish species are the principal ones consumed in some islands (e.g. the Maldives where consumption by nationals consists almost entirely of skipjack tuna).

These species are harvested by small-scale fishermen and nationally-owned industrial fleets. However, when viewed globally, the exploitation of these resources, and in particular highly migratory species, by small island developing States, is small relative to the harvestable resource available within their respective regions.

As a consequence of the limited harvesting capacity available to small island developing States, and a general lack of domestic infrastructure to support industrial fishing operations (e.g. fleets, water availability, fuel dumps, drydock facilities, etc.), foreign fishing fleets targeting pelagic resources are licensed to operate in the EEZs of small islands in the Indian Ocean and in the South Pacific. These fleets, using pole-and-line, longline and purse-seine gears, are principally from France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan (Province of China), Spain and the United States. Revenue derived from access-fee payments under these bilateral and multilateral licensing arrangements in some cases (e.g. the Federated States of Micronesia) account for more than 50 percent of domestically-generated revenue. Fees are usually related, on an historical basis, to the value (determined by species and volume) of the fish harvested by a vessel in a specified time period. However, very limited means of control over actual catches are available to the licensing States and their relations with foreign fleets, often backed by their respective governments, are unequal.

Because of the migratory nature of many offshore species of fish of importance to small island developing States, research on population dynamics and related issues is best conducted through international programmes. Directly, or through affiliations with international or regional organizations, small island developing States are in position to provide direction to, and benefit from, these programmes.

Of primary concern is the adverse impact of unregulated and un-managed use of resources on the high seas which adversely affect resources within their EEZs. Since most high seas resources are straddling stocks, this concern is legitimate since poor management can place both small-scale and industrial sustainable production in jeopardy. It was essentially these concerns that prompted South Pacific islands in the late 1980s to strongly oppose high-seas fishing with large-scale pelagic driftnets by Asian fleets.

Agenda 21, adopted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, clearly showed that developing countries can only fulfil agreed objectives for the conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources of the high seas if they have the required financial, scientific and technological means at their disposal. In this connection small island developing States and islands supporting small communities constituted a "special case" for assistance to enable them to participate effectively in the conservation and sustainable utilization of adjacent high seas living marine resources.

In view of the importance of high seas resources and fisheries, and in particular tuna resources, small island developing States have been particularly active in the deliberations of the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. By presenting consolidated regional positions on matters before the Conference and consulting inter-regionally on them, they have sought to redress the disadvantages they face in international fora because of their small size. By means of this approach, these island States have been able to influence discussion and issues relating to straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks.

The most impressive contributions to that Conference have been made by South Pacific small island developing States. At each session, these States provided regional perspectives, based on more than a decade of experience, on issues such as the regional management of fisheries, minimum data requirements for conservation and management of fisheries, monitoring, control and surveillance, the role of port States in fisheries management and the special requirements of developing States with respect to fisheries management. The many contributions made by South Pacific island States vis-a-vis contributions from other small island developing States in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean reflect the importance of fisheries to the South Pacific region as a primary vehicle for socio-economic development and the long experience of these States in promoting their own fleets and in dealing with distant-water fishing nations under licensing arrangements.

"The International Legal and Policy References Underscoring the Importance of High Seas Fisheries"

* Article 119 (1) (a) of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (the 1982 Convention) in which the "...special requirements of developing States" are recognized with respect: to determining allowable fish catches and the establishment of other measures for the living resources of the high seas.

* The Strategy for Fisheries Management and Development, adopted by the 1984 FAO World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development noted that "... due consideration should be given to the special role of small-scale fisheries in the economies of island States where they are often the major source of employment and foreign exchange earnings".

* The 1992, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development proclaimed that "... the special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed and those most environmentally, vulnerable, shall be given special priority".

* At the 1992 FAO Technical Consultation on High Seas Fishing the issue of developing countries and high seas fisheries resources was considered. In its report the Consultation "stressed particularly the situation of small island countries with a high economic dependency on fisheries and the oceans In general, coastal States with a high potential to exploit highly migratory fishery resources, and countries, with a high demand for fish and fishery products due to large populations and fish eating traditions. FAO was requested to undertake a special programme of assistance to such developing countries as part of a global effort to secure greater food supplies and food security as well as to promote responsible fishing."

* The Chairman's Negotiating Text for the 1993-94 UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks makes specific reference to the special requirements of developing countries and underlines the central position of small island developing States (Part X). The Text recognizes that: "para 53. In giving effect to the duty to cooperate in the establishment of conservation and management measures for straddling fish stocks and highly migratory species, States shall take into account the special requirements of developing countries, in particular: the vulnerability of developing countries whose geographical situation makes them dependent upon the exploitation of living marine resources for the nutritional requirements of their populations or parts thereof; the vulnerability of developing countries, particularly small island developing States whose populations are culturally and economically dependent on marine resources, especially in terms of the impact on subsistence fisheries".

3. Land and biotic resources

Land-use choices
Watershed management
Greening activities
Protected areas and biological diversity
Plant genetic resources
Managing risk due to natural hazards

Land-use choices

The small size of many island developing States makes competition for land more severe than in larger countries. Large commercial plantations were frequently established under the colonial system, and continue today in the more fertile plains of island countries, forcing many small farmers to resort to the poorer soils in hilly regions. This, combined with poor land use practices, has resulted in deforestation and soil erosion.

Due to the peculiar geological characteristics of many islands, water resources are scarce, often limited to thin lenses of freshwater floating on sea water, recharged by rainfall. Poor management of watershed catchment areas and of water flowing through agro-ecosystems, particularly irrigation supplies, can lead to water scarcity and pollution of downstream supplies. Population pressure, expanding tourism, and reduced precipitations of recent decades, have resulted in the over-exploitation of groundwater and seawater intrusion, with subsequent further deterioration of water quality and quantity.

Land use planning is a prerequisite for long-term sustainability, since without it, the economic and social fabric of society as a whole will be endangered. Advice on area-specific soil and water conservation, and management practices will be needed for farmers, graziers and others. Such advice will only be adopted if it is perceived as being capable of bringing rapid economic returns to the users without threatening their fragile survival strategies. Success will also depend on guaranteeing long-term rights to land and water resources.

"Land Use Planning, Management and Information System in Grenada"

Grenada is highly dependent on agriculture, deriving 90 percent of its export earnings from this source, though the sector has stagnated over the past three years due to a combination of low export prices and declining productivity of the traditional export crops. The agricultural development strategy of the Government is to improve the productivity of traditional export crops, while diversifying into nontraditional crops for export and for agro-industrial integration into the expanding tourist sector. Emphasis will also be placed on increased domestic food production. The strategy involves bringing idle private and public lands back into production, and strengthening private and public sector institutions. Topography is a key factor in implementing the above strategy. On the islands of Grenada and Carriacou, approximately 77 percent and 54 percent respectively of the land area has slopes exceeding 20 degrees. Only 33 percent of the soils are deep, well drained, and free of cultivation constraints. The rest, apart from excessive slopes, are shallow or rocky, or have seasonal drainage problems. A favourable feature of Grenadine geography is a well-defined system of watersheds governed by the topographic position of the rivers and streams. The system of watersheds offers the opportunity for the establishment of rational land use consistent with the characteristics and conditions of each watershed, and with the need for soil and water conservation. The main objectives of this newly launched project (1993-94) are to create the technical basis to support rational development and conservation of the country's natural resources, and to develop an effective forestry management policy, and forest area conservation and development programme for the country. The project will provide specialised technical assistance and practical hands-on training to local technical staff in the establishment and development of computerized natural resources information systems. The project is designed to provide a rapid response to an immediate need affecting the country's food production and the degradation of its natural resources. It is expected to contribute to establishing a sound basis for natural resource planning and policy formulation at both national and watershed levels.

More specifically, the following needs to be emphasised:

* sound cropping practices and cropping systems which maintain soil fertility and productivity for sustainable crop yields as well as practices such as soil testing and analysis to determine fertilizer recommendations on a soil- and crop-specific basis. Land evaluation/land use planning are pre-requisites for sound land use and crop diversification. Development of land information systems will make a vital contribution to improved resource management;

* suitable water harvesting methods, both for domestic and agricultural use (supplementary irrigation), aiming at significantly increasing the groundwater recharge as well as collection and storage of rainwater from ground catchments;

* use of biomass residues (e.g. bagasse from the sugarcane industry), as a source of plant nutrients, will reduce use of mineral fertilizers in favour of nutrient sources available within the farm. This would contribute to environmental protection and decrease pollution of soils and groundwater.

Land conditions are similar in all coral island countries, and, apart from those affected by human action, soils are homogeneous. The main restrictions on land use are urban encroachment, tourism, established tree crops, especially coconut, or the existence of improved soils devoted to market gardening. Where choices for land use are still available in these islands, integrated coastal area management should be applied in a comprehensive programme of land use planning.

In small low-lying coastal areas, land well suited for agriculture is under severe pressure from expansion of housing, industry, and tourism. Under the market system, with private land ownership, the immediate economic returns from such uses of land always override the longer-term benefits to be derived from sustainable but low-return agriculture.

Economic pressures thus make it difficult for the rural sector to opt for the sustainable use of the resources entrusted to its care, such as:

* light use of coastal mangrove forests, while maintaining the additional functions of nursery areas for marine species, and protection against major damage to adjacent land from cyclones or tidal waves;

* brackish-water fish ponds in humid climates or salt pans in and or semi-arid conditions;

* cultivation of wetland rice or appropriate dryland crops, irrigated or rainfed, with flood protection and water control (mainly drainage facilities);

* cultivation of annual crops, adaptable to changing conditions, or perennial crops, entailing long-term decisions and larger investment; and

* conservation of local germplasm offered by traditional farming systems.

Hilly or mountainous areas face a different, but no less difficult, set of choices. Depending on climate, geology, landform and soils, the land may have high or low potential for nature conservation, forestry, grazing, production of perennial or long-term crops or cultivation of annual crops. Conditions can vary greatly over short distances, and the optimal response to a country's needs and objectives may well be a mosaic of different land uses and protected areas.

In small island developing States, the relationship between forests and trees, and other types of land use and economic activities, is critical. Forestry should be systematically represented in national and district planning commissions, land use zoning activities, town planning, energy and infrastructure strategies, as well as in planning for generation of income, employment, and food security. Forests and trees and the products and services they provide must be validated and valorized in view of their role in the protection of water resources and of the environment in general.

"Tropical Forests Action Programme"

Forest resources contribute to environmental protection and food security. Rural people exercise important customary rights over forest products, which have traditionally been used sustainably. Current forestry problems originate, among others, from official policies which are not supportive of sustainable management and utilization of forest and tree resources, The importance of forest resources has motivated many Caribbean island countries to develop appropriate inter-island forestry and environmental networks to promote forestry research, as well as carrying out Tropical Forests Action Programmes (TFAP) in order to implement the sustainable management of forest resources. The TFAF planning phase in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago is concluded and the implementation started in November 1993. This multinational exercise defined regional issues and produced key documents, including a survey of forest management and silvicultural systems in the region. In the Pacific, Fiji is already implementing a TFAP-framed national forestry action plan, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are starting the planning phase, and others (Kiribati, Micronesia, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Western Samoa) have expressed interest in launching a TFAP process. A TFAP Training Workshop for this region is scheduled for May 1994. In Africa, Cape Verde Islands are in active preparation of their National Forestry Action Plan, and a recently held national Forestry Congress has highlighted the overall progress achieved and original aspects of forestry in the country. Legislation and planning exercises are under way in the Comoros Islands.


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