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Chapter VIII - Improving the situations: solutions and strategies

8.1 The feasibility of forestry solutions
8.2 Strategic action guidelines
8.3 Scope of the strategies concerning fuelwood

The results of the analyses presented in the preceding chapters have demonstrated the seriousness and the size of the gap between accessible supplies compatible with sustained production and the present minimum levels of fuelwood needs. About 920 million rural people were affected by such situations in 1980 and this figure might be two and a half times greater by the year 2000 should present trends persist. In vast zones of western and eastern Africa and in the Indian sub-continent, fuelwood may well be playing no more than a marginal role by then. But all recent experience has shown that no substitute energy is able, under acceptable technical and socio-economic conditions, to replace fuelwood on a scale able to have a real impact on these gloomy prospects. This means that at least for the last two decades of this century the rural populations in the Third World, and probably the poorest urban sectors, will continue to depend to an over-whelming extent on the plant fuels immediately available in their environment. This situation will continue until the conditions for a mass substitution of another energy source for fuelwood are met: and even then considerable time will have to elapse before a new technology can noticeably change a situation, so that it will take that much longer to have an impact. However, the fact that the real nature and extent of the problem is now being increasingly recognized already constitutes a first important step towards resolving it, or at least reversing the present trends.

The problem is, then, of exceptional gravity, and it is essential to examine, however briefly, the possible solutions. Up to the energy crisis of the seventies, it was assumed that the transition from traditional fuelwood to commercial energies was automatic, and few deliberate efforts were made to control, far less improve, fuelwood supplies. But now fuelwood, a renewable source of energy of local origin, has strategic as well as social importance. It is therefore essential that forestry's full potential to resolve the problem and maintain supplies be mobilized. This chapter will therefore analyse the feasibility of forestry solutions aimed at increasing fuelwood supplies. It will also show that no single or simple solution will suffice and that a number of actions will have to be combined in strategies adapted to the specific situation. It will also emphasize that in most cases there is a common denominator of similar constraints which hinder action. The removal of these constraints can set in motion a dynamic process of development..

8.1 The feasibility of forestry solutions

8.1.1 Increasing the productivity of the natural formations
8.1.2 Creating new resources: plantations
8.1.3 Coordination of forestry solutions

Forestry solutions to the problem of increasing the amount of wood available for energy rely either on increased mobilization of the potential of existing natural formations or on the provision of new resources. These two types of solution must usually be applied simultaneously in view of the need to produce effective results as soon as possible in situations of fuelwood deficit. Ecological conditions constitute a serious limiting factor in many cases of aridity or difficult terrain; but even if the impact of forestry solutions on energy supplies remains limited, the role of trees in conserving the environment and in local agricultural and pastoral economies makes recourse to these solutions equally necessary, it is essential, in fact, that the fuelwood problem and its solutions be tackled in close coordination with integrated land management and cultivation systems, since for the populations concerned they constitute an indivisible whole. In fact, any forestry solution to the problem of fuelwood supplies cannot and should not be considered in isolation from the overall problem of the complex role of forest resources in the rural economy and of their various contributions, productive and protective. Forestry solutions to the fuelwood crisis are inseparable from forest policy and management, to which they contribute fresh impulse and importance. The forestry solutions contemplated must therefore affect not only woody vegetation and stands of all sizes, but also the association of forest trees, even isolated ones, with agricultural or pastoral practices, in view of the role that all these elements may play in ensuring supplies.

8.1.1 Increasing the productivity of the natural formations

The combined effects of logging, grazing and destruction by fire or other agents, particularly climatic ones, limit or reduce the potential yield of the natural formations, in particular open forest, savanna and steppe. The productivity of these formations can usually be increased considerably by more rational use of the available woody biomass and by applying relatively simple protection methods. Recent studies, particularly by FAO, have shown that 75 m³ per hectare of fuelwood are available in the Terai region in Nepal, more than 80 m³ per hectare in the Brazilian "cerrado" and 30 m³ in the central southern part of Upper Volta. A considerable percentage of these supplies is frequently wasted either during commercial felling or through burning by shifting cultivators or shepherds, or even during official deforestation and settlement programmes. The productivity of the natural formations can be improved by relatively simple means: tests with protection measures have resulted in a doubling of the yield from savanna formations; in other cases it is necessary only to include the production of energy as an additional objective in forest management. What makes these actions complex is the necessity of reconciling them with the local population's need for new arable land or pasture, and of obtaining the indispensable adherence of this population.

There are, however, very important obstacles:

- the difficulty of managing vast stretches of natural formations, of low to average productivity, for forestry services that are not very well established and have limited staff and means;

- possible lack of interest on the part of populations who have traditionally been excluded from management of the forest resources and who see these resources as a form of land use in competition with the uses that meet their immediate needs;

- the difficulty of controlling fires and preventing them spreading;

- the difficulty of organizing grazing and avoiding destruction of the woody vegetation by a livestock population that far exceeds the capacity of the grass cover;

- the lack of information both on existing resources and on the possibilities of improving their fuelwood yield by, among other things, associating it with other production and protection functions;

- the sometimes very advanced state of degradation of the woody vegetation, which despite the protection measures is no longer able to reconstitute itself, particularly if the ecological conditions are not favourable.

To ensure that forest land is managed effectively, forestry services must work in cooperation with the rural development and livestock services and with the direct participation by the people concerned. A positive attitude, indeed active participation by the people in the protection and management of the forest resources on which their supplies depend, is indispensable: they must therefore be made continuously aware of the role of the forest in their well-being and in the local economy.

In many cases a particularly effective way of getting rural populations to adopt a responsible attitude towards their forest resources is to entrust them with the management of these resources, with the technical assistance of the forestry service, and to allow them to reap the benefits. The task of the forestry service is thus radically altered: direct action on forest stands is replaced by support for actions undertaken by the people themselves in accordance with what they themselves see as their needs - actions which , require technical and logistical assistance in order to improve their chances of success¹. In the initial stage the forestry service must devote itself to showing the people what can and should be done and the benefits that would result.

¹ This new orientation of forestry action and the far-reaching changes it necessitates have been discussed in several FAO documents, and more particularly in "The role of forests in the development of local communities", FAO, Rome, 1978.

However, forest resources situated near big markets, such as large towns, will have to continue, in the main, to be directly managed by the forestry service in order to ensure regular supplies for consumers under satisfactory economic conditions. At the same time it is necessary to avoid fuelwood supplies being diverted to town dwellers to the detriment of the rural people, who are usually poorer.

If a big effort is made to overcome the difficulties that have been enumerated, in many situations characterized by the existence of still relatively extensive natural formations improved management could result in a perceptible increase in the output of wood fuels within 10 to 15 years. If this action is conducted in conjunction with actions to increase output of the other forest products, improve agricultural productivity and, where applicable, introduce a settled type of farming, the annual rate of deforestation could be markedly reduced and fuelwood supplies considerably increased.

In many situations a relatively simple calculation is possible: an average increase of 20 percent in the yield of the accessible natural formations as a whole constitutes a realistic target that does not require large investments. The increase in supplies can easily be compared with the total area of plantations that would have to be established to provide the same amount, assuming average yields, and the generally high cost of such an operation. This comparison often illustrates how advisable it would be to accord prior attention to improving the productivity of the natural formations - a solution difficult to implement successfully but which gives particularly rewarding results.

8.1.2 Creating new resources: plantations

The creation of additional wood energy resources is frequently essential, all the more so because the populations which depend on this source of energy are usually concentrated in regions which by force of circumstances have been subjected to intensive deforestation: the remaining natural formations are not able to ensure sufficient supplies even if their productivity is improved. Forest plantations have often been preferred too, because they are relatively easy to establish and manage successfully. However, the feasibility and impact of these plantations are limited by major difficulties: ecological conditions, the lack of sufficiently favourable land, the attitude of the populations concerned, the costs.

(a) Ecological conditions in the deficit zones, in particular the climate and the soils, are often not very favourable to plantations, whose survival and yield is affected by unfavourable and unforeseeable variations. It is relatively easy to make a success of the first few years, but more difficult to maintain a satisfactory level of productivity up to the end. Information and basic research on exotic and indigenous species, planting and management techniques, tending, and the prevention of diseases and shortages are often inadequate and the distribution of such information often leaves something to be desired. These obstacles are often underestimated and many large-scale projects are drawn up on the basis of an extrapolation of the results obtained in research plots benefiting from special care under site and scale conditions that make them irrelevant. In addition, the real complexity of combining protection and tending with the achievement of maximum productivity is not always fully grasped.

All these technical aspects require priority attention: forest plantations must be approached in the same way as other agricultural undertakings. The trees constitute a crop, requiring selection of species and provenances, choice of site and follow-up action that guarantees the best possible results, if the operation is to be profitable.

(b) The lack of land where conditions are favourable to forest plantations is a widespread problem, because it is often the need for arable land that has led to the deforestation which makes it necessary to plant trees: farmers are rarely willing to release land for plantations unless their low fertility renders them marginal for agricultural purposes. Various solutions are possible:

- establish plantations in marginal zones where they will have the double purpose of restoring denuded or eroded land and producing: results from the point of view of production alone are rarely encouraging.

- replant forest areas previously cleared of their natural vegetation. This solution often proves expensive owing to the cost of clearing and can only be justified if it has been ascertained by careful study that the existing vegetation is too degraded or unproductive and that it is preferable to incur the costs and the risks inherent in a new plantation rather than attempt to increase the yield from a vegetation that has the merit of being adapted to the local ecological conditions. In all cases the site conditions must be such as to enable a reasonable yield to be expected. It is usually this solution that lends itself to large-scale plantations established by forestry administrations on State-owned lands.

- increase the number of trees grown outside forest lands. Widespread distribution of trees in every vacant spot throughout the countryside undoubtedly represents a particularly promising way of increasing the supply of fuelwood. The integration of trees and agriculture, in particular agro-forestry, constitutes an extension of the management of forest resources and a remarkably flexible way of resolving the conflict between agriculture and forestry by fusing the populations' various interests and multiplying the benefits they can obtain directly from the same plot. In many cases the traditional land-use systems already provide for such integration.

Mention should also be made of the decisive effect that the improvement and intensification of agricultural productivity can have on land use, with the result that land may be made available for fuelwood plantations.

(c) The attitude of the people is a determining factor. People do not feel concerned by or interested in plantations in the form of blocks of a certain size, immobilized for forestry use for a long period of time, about which they have not been consulted and the yield from which will not provide them with any direct, substantial and equitably divided benefits. At best the most that can be expected is a passive attitude: often there is more or less open hostility, resulting in illegal felling and degradation. In addition, it is relatively easy to plant a tree but notoriously more difficult to convince a peasant to assign part of his land to this purpose and to protect and tend the tree until it reaches maturity.

There is only one, many-sided solution: active participation by the people from the earliest stage up to the time when the final benefits are reaped. A plantation must meet the people's needs as they themselves see them and constitute for them an interesting line of production whose protection and management will produce more direct benefits than would its destruction and replacement by some other way of using the same piece of land.

Pull advantage must be taken of two determining aspects: the capacity of any forest plantation, through a judicious choice of species and techniques, to fulfil a number of objectives (provision of wood, fruit and fodder, protection, etc.); and the people's undoubted interest in plantations whose principal aim is to satisfy their domestic requirements for energy and other products. Beyond this, the major condition for the success of plantation programmes is that the people be aware of the importance of the fuelwood problem and of their role and interest in improving supplies. Before organizing and training the people, foresters have an essential role to play in stimulating such awareness by providing information and acting as animators.

(d) The costs of implementation undoubtedly constitute an obstacle to increasing the areas planted in proportion to needs and probable deficits. Concordant observations made by FAO, the World Bank and other bodies indicate that in 1981 the costs of establishing and tending large-scale plantations in the Sahelian region, were well over US$1 000 per hectare, for an expected average yield of 4 to 7 m³/ha/year. Two solutions are possible: recourse to external financing, or mobilization of local resources with the agreement of the populations concerned.

In the first case the benefits to be expected from programmes financed by loans must be carefully evaluated, particularly as regards the solidity of the factors (yields, quality and value of products, time span, etc.) that condition financial profitability. The accompanying measures, human resources, infrastructure and institutions must also be considered with particular attention, owing to their decisive role in ensuring that the operation is conducted to a successful conclusion. Profitability can also be improved by modifying the traditional concept of forest production, adopting shorter rotations and producing more small wood.

Active participation by the local people in operations of which they obtain the benefits makes it possible to cover a considerable part of the costs of installation from local resources, in particular labour. Not including the value of the land, the cost of the inputs at market price that the State has to provide for a community plantation programme usually represents between one-third and one-quarter per cubic metre produced of that for a standard large-scale programme ¹. Here again it is necessary to motivate the population and to provide real support through appropriate incentive measures and technical assistance.

¹ "Potential for Fuelwood and Charcoal in the Energy Systems of Developing Countries", prepared by Meta Systems Inc., as a US input for the FAO Forestry Department Secretariat for the UN Technical Panel on Fuelwood and Charcoal. 1980

8.1.3 Coordination of forestry solutions

In most cases improvements and increases in fuelwood supplies will depend on a complex programme ranging from actions to increase the yield of natural formations to the creation of new resources. The specific conditions of each situation will determine the result to be expected and the respective importance to be given to these forestry solutions. The effective importance of fuelwood in the rural economy and a detailed analysis of costs and benefits will provide valuable indications for improving the effectiveness of the actions. In cases where the ecological situation is particularly difficult or population density particularly high, these forestry solutions will probably be able to play only a limited role and require complementary action. Bat it must be emphasized that in all cases the forestry solutions should be incorporated into a supply and distribution plan which guarantees access by the people to the fuel they need under economic and stable conditions. Given the weight and bulkiness of wood fuel, the spatial distribution of the resources as compared with the demand, the transport infrastructure and the organization of distribution are important aspects inseparable from the feasibility and impact of the forestry solutions. It is necessary to ensure, in particular, that supplies for large towns or more heavily populated zones are not guaranteed at the expense of the people in the neighbouring rural reas.

Because of their complexity and the importance of what is at stake, the forestry solutions to be implemented must constitute an important and integral part of a country's forest policy: this should simultaneously reveal effective aknowledgement of the extent of the energy contribution of forest resources and demonstrate the political authorities' commitment to voluntarist actions at all levels in this field.

8.2 Strategic action guidelines

8.2.1 Short to medium-term actions
8.2.2 Medium - to long-term actions

In most of the situations that have been identified, the deferred impact of the forestry solutions alone will not make it possible to resolve in the short term the tensions and problems resulting from insufficient fuelwood supplies. In practice it will always be necessary to resort to a combination of measures affecting the main parameters of supply and demand. What is needed is a real strategy for attacking the problem: the general outlines of this can be indicated, but the specific ingredients will have to be combined in accordance with the particular situations. And it must be emphasized from the start that any strategy concerning fuelwood must be closely linked with the national energy situation and in particular with clear recognition of the importance of this source of energy as compared with the other forms of energy available and according to the various groups of users and requirements. The production of wood-energy must also be set within the wider context of the overall contribution of forest vegetation and trees to the rural and national economy and to the maintenance of productive environmental conditions. The production of energy is only one aspect, important but not unique, of the forestry sector's contribution to development.

As part of the preparations for the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, Nairobi 1981, a technical panel went very fully into the problem of fuelwood and charcoal. This panel's main contribution to the Conference consisted of the ; formulation of a "Strategy for fuelwood as a source of energy for survival and development¹.

¹ Report of the Technical Panel on Fuelwood and Charcoal on its second session, United Nations General Assembly, February 1981. A/CONF.100/PC/34.

The salient features and implications of this strategy are briefly reviewed in the following paragraphs in order to emphasize both the extent and the complexity of the tasks to be carried out.

A strategy for fuelwood has to recognize the absolute necessity of combining short-term actions with longer-term ones, those aimed at increasing supplies with those aimed at lowering demand, so as to tackle the problem from all sides at once and prevent it assuming unmanageable proportions before the more far-reaching solutions can produce their effect. Six main types of action were thus identified, affecting both supply and demand of fuelwood.

8.2.1 Short to medium-term actions Substitution or supplement by other sources of energy, particularly commercial ones, may be indispensable in the worst situations in order to supplement fuelwood resources that are clearly insufficient to cover even minimum requirements. This may even be just a temporary measure to alleviate pressure on the remaining resources and gain time in which to establish new resources and await their entry into production. So far such actions have been limited to urban areas - e.g. the campaign to introduce butane in Senegal; and even here they have come up against the obstacles of the cost of the substitute fuel and the equipment for using it, and the difficulties of getting the people to accept a fuel with characteristics different to the traditional one. Substitution proves particularly difficult for domestic uses, and recent surveys have shown housewives' attachment to the traditional fuels. There is no doubt, however, that in situations of acute scarcity the use of substitute fuels will be more and more necessary in order to assure coverage of the minimum energy requirements. Efforts to encourage substitution should be aimed initially at uses for which such fuels are best adapted, such as rural industries, brick-making plants, pottery works, etc., which it is easier to influence owing to their concentration, provided a regular supply is guaranteed. In the longer term all possible uses of a renewable substitute fuel should be encouraged as the technology and equipment become available under technical, social and economic conditions appropriate to the specific uses. The distribution of wood fuels must be organized and controlled in order to ensure regular supplies and thus avoid both acute seasonal fluctuations and the appearance of localized shortages a short distance away from surplus areas, which often marks the situations observed, particularly in Africa. In most cases this poses the problems of absence or inadequacy of a communication and transport infrastructure, change-over from a traditional, informal organization to a modern, structured organization for distribution, control of the machinery for fixing prices and the possible disturbing effect of big concentrations of demand, such as large towns, or situations of oligopoly. These aspects rarely form the object of voluntarist action, although they are fundamental if rational use is to be made of resources in the face of demand. The transformation of fuel-wood from a traditionally free product into an item with a monetary value should draw increasing attention to the importance of marketing and the need to encourage effective distribution under regular and equitable economic conditions. The transformation of fuel-wood into a normal economic commodity cannot but encourage greater efficiency in production and use. The improvement of conversion techniques covers a number of operations, from harvesting to charcoal-making, including packaging for transport and processing for making available to the user a fuel with the highest possible energy yield. These techniques aim at better utilization of the existing resources and include drying of the fuel, the improvement of transport and storage conditions through densification or agglomeration, and the promotion of higher-yielding charcoal-making techniques. All these measures result in the provision of a better-quality fuel, extension of the range of the biomass utilizable as fuel and improvement of the handling and transportation conditions, and the production of more charcoal of similar or higher quality from the same woody mass. Improved processing techniques can make possible considerable savings by reducing the demand for wood for the same energy use. These measures should include a particular effort to disseminate knowledge and appropriate techniques, regroup procedures in order to improve their productivity and their investment capacity, and establish distribution circuits promoting effective economic organization while safeguarding employment. The improvement of wood-burning stoves is of particular importance because of the low thermic yield usually obtained from the fuel by traditional methods - seldom over 10 percent of wood's calorific value. In view of the amount of wood used for domestic purposes, efforts should be concentrated mainly on domestic stoves, but without ignoring other uses such as tea and tobacco-drying equipment, ovens for smoking fish, bread-ovens, etc. It is technically possible, without major difficulties, to save one-third or more of fuel, and hence to lower fuelwood requirements by this amount, by using stoves that are better designed and better used. For this it is necessary to tackle all aspects, including the characteristics and preparation of the fuel, and cooking and heating methods and equipment. The use of locally available materials and technical skills makes it possible to produce improved stoves at very modest prices - less than US$10 per unit: an investment which, at the current price of wood, is usually amortized very quickly. However, experience has demonstrated that social, cultural and nutritional customs, and resistance to change in an important aspect of the household's life, constitute determining factors in the acceptability of an appropriate technical solution and may considerably slow down its dissemination and hence its impact. The short-term effect should not be overestimated, therefore: considerable results are possible, but they require close attention to local conditions, prior designing, jointly with the users, of appropriate and well-tried models, testing under real conditions of use, considerable technical assistance and the participation of local organizations and associations in the promotional campaign. However, in the most serious situations it is the solution with the greatest potential . short-term impact; it therefore warrants full attention, but also serious preparation in order to ensure success.

8.2.2 Medium - to long-term actions

Measures able to improve the fuelwood situation rapidly are an important way of reducing tensions so as to facilitate the introduction of measures whose effect will be longer-lasting and slower to appear. These consist essentially of actions to increase the amount of fuelwood available by improving the productivity of the existing resources or establishing new ones. The feasibility of these actions was discussed in the previous section, and they are now briefly taken up again here. Increasing the productivity of the existing natural formations should receive an attention proportionate to the usually considerable contribution of these formations to supplies. The analysis of many situations shows that these natural formations constitute the bulk of the supplies and that a considerable proportion of them is still almost inaccessible. In those which are accessible, productivity can often be increased by between 50 and 100 percent. Except in cases of severe degradation, natural formations (forests, tree and shrub formations) afford the possibility of increasing fuel-wood supplies through relatively simple protection methods and rational management. Three aspects are involved: fuller mobilization of the available biomass, avoiding the abandonment of waste and small, recuperable elements; increasing the actual productivity of the existing biomass by methods which stimulate its growth; improvement and simultaneous control of access to the resources.

Conditions for people's access to the fuelwood resources are of particular importance because they condition not only the effective mobilization of the resources but also the people's attitude towards them. Accessibility is determined by a complex set of physical, economic and juridical factors and is often inseparable from rational use of the resources.

Improvement of the economic conditions for the production and marketing of fuelwood can undoubtedly increase access to resources that have been marginal to date under current conditions of collection on the basis of rights of usage. If the local people are involved in harvesting the fuelwood and obtain direct employment and benefits under conditions of accessibility defined in a more positive, less rigid fashion, they will take an interest and eventually an active part in conserving and even managing the fuel - wood resources. This applies not only to actual forests, but also to the open or shrub formations which often constitute the only resource available locally.

The production of wood - energy was a traditional aspect of forest management that has been overlooked in recent decades. It needs to be rediscovered to benefit from technical advances and information. It is necessary above all to support it in national policies, allot it means proportional to the results expected, and rely on the people to gear down the effort needed. Innovatory solutions are undoubtedly necessary and human investment is probably at least as important as financial investment. The creation of new resources through plantations is, in the long run, an indispensable element in the strategy in many cases, as a complement to measures affecting the remaining resources. In accordance with the specific nature of the situations and problems, there is a wide range of possible actions, which can be combined; large-scale plantations, costly but geared to a concentrated and usually monetized market, such as a town; community or village plantations able to meet the needs of a community; individual or family stands. In the last two cases, part of the output is consumed locally and the surplus may be put on the market and provide cash incomes.

A complex set of technical and socio-economic factors guide the decision regarding the relative weight to be given to each type of plantation. In all cases it is essential to integrate the plantation programme in land-use planning taking into account the other requirements and uses of the land.

In most of the situations studied, and hence of the countries concerned, the analysis showed the inadequacy of the present plantation programmes. On the basis of this analysis, the Technical panel on Fuelwood and Charcoal recommended "a five-fold increase in current levels of tree - planting for fuel". This recommendation was endorsed by the Nairobi Conference and forms part of the Nairobi Programme of Action. The effort required is considerable, and enormous financial resources would be needed should the traditional method of implementation by official bodies be used. Such an acceleration in the rate of planting is possible only if a mass appeal is made for active collaboration by the rural people; if the effort required is distributed among individuals and based on increasing the number of trees planted in any non-utilized space; and if the maximum amount of local resources, land and labour, is mobilized by individuals and local communities' for their own benefit and within the wider framework of the multiple . contribution that forestry can make to meeting their requirements. Such programmes have recently been undertaken in China, India, Indonesia, the Republic of. Korea and Tanzania, and show the path to be followed.

However, in order to be really large-scale and hence lead to the results desired, such an effort must be based on a clearly expressed political commitment, supported by a set of technical, financial and institutional means. A solid technical basis is indispensable, and the approaches used must be those best adapted to the possibilities, means, requirements and structures of the people concerned. The rate at which such plantation activities are carried out should be stimulated and accelerated both by systems of loans and incentives and by emphasizing the other benefits and functions that the trees planted can provide within the context of the rural economy. It is also necessary to know how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by other aspects of rural development, such as the rationalization of land-use planning, greater integration among various forms of land use, the search for a more productive type of agriculture, social programmes for combating under-employment and rural poverty, etc.

In fact it is clear from all the analyses that a real strategy has to be defined case by case, in accordance with the specific conditions. But all strategies will have four basic characteristics in common:

(i) they will lay down a set of actions affecting needs and consumption as well as supplies;

(ii) they will associate actions with immediate effects with longer-term ones, but will in all cases programme them on the basis of a critical assessment of the time factor;

(iii) they will be on a sufficiently large scale: there is little risk of over-estimating the scope of the action, because only massive programmes can have an appreciable impact;

(iv) they will mobilize the people en masse and induce them to play an active part in implementing actions for which they should be responsible and from which they should reap the benefits.

Implementation of the programmes required poses a real challenge, in view of their complexity and size: but there is no doubt that if the situations are allowed to worsen, an even greater and more expensive effort will be needed, not to mention the effect on the people's lives and on the natural resources.

8.3 Scope of the strategies concerning fuelwood

8.3.1 Adaptation and strengthening of institutional structures
8.3.2 Training
8.3.3 The people
8.3.4 Research

After having stressed the seriousness of the energy crisis situations caused by the scarcity of fuelwood, and the relative complexity of the solutions to be adopted, the last section of this chapter is intended to show both the magnitude of the existing constraints and the role that the fuelwood problem can play in stimulating development. It would be a serious mistake to regard the problem of fuelwood and its solutions as a mere subsistence problem affecting only the poorest, most isolated, least developed sections of Third World societies, a problem connected with that of the transition towards more advanced sources of energy and technologies. Although it is true that the poorest are the ones most affected, the importance of fuelwood in national energy balances, and its intrinsic qualities as a renewable, decentralized and inexpensive system for storing solar energy, make it a real, strategic energy source whose potential should be fully mobilized in the service of development. In assessing the effort required it is important to stress how much the mobilization of efforts and of human and financial resources, always in demand for a multitude of tasks and priorities, goes beyond the mere provision of an energy supply, essential and difficult to replace though this is. The scope of the strategies recommended should be seen as an ideal opportunity for removing certain constraints that are constraints on development, by, for example, adapting and strengthening institutional structures, mobilizing and training human resources, and strengthening applied research: it is not just a question of resolving a serious problem, but of taking the opportunity to stimulate a drive towards development among the people concerned through an active and responsible effort to achieve energy self-sufficiency, in conformity with the criteria of rural development.

8.3.1 Adaptation and strengthening of institutional structures

The social dimension of forestry is now being increasingly recognized, and the essential contribution of fuelwood to the energy supply constitutes one of the most obvious examples of the importance of forestry for the development of rural people. But in many cases the major concern of forest policies remains conservation of the forest domain and industrial development; the forest is normally still considered State property, the people are excluded from this part of the land and know nothing about forestry; the benefits of the forestry actions which they can undertake or in which they car. participate are marginal for them; and they are deprived, without compensation, of usage rights and other products in areas under forest management. The drawbacks of the traditional structures in a changing world marked by population growth and the requirements of development are obvious in these instances and call for change; Hence the new trends towards community forestry that are now spreading. Foresters were the first to become aware of the rural energy crisis caused by the growing shortage of fuelwood and saw in this one of the most important social dimensions of forestry.

Fuelwood strategies call for modification and adaptation of the existing structures. The importance of fuelwood for energy supplies makes it necessary to revise the conditions for access to the resources: this must be controlled, but at the same time guarantee supplies. The inflexibility of, or changes in, land tenure structures must not constitute a major growing obstacle to access to fuelwood supplies, far less discourage people from planting trees because they will not be the acknowledged owners or because this will tie to one use a plot which might be needed tomorrow for other purposes.

The legislative and regulatory framework must evolve in the same direction, no longer closing the forest to the people dependent on it but making forestry an integral part of land-use planning in order to meet their needs and help in their development.

The role of the forestry services is of primary importance and constitutes a real departure from their traditional function as the direct executive of programmes drawn up within their own sector. Fuelwood strategies can only be successful if the people are the main protagonists and the forestry services provide active, comprehensive and constant technical support. This presupposes both changes in capacities, the aim now being to stimulate action by others as much as to take direct action, and greater technical efficiency, in order to multiply the examples of success which will provide the best tool for persuasion.

If the people are to feel really concerned in action to protect and increase the fuelwood resources, they must perceive these as responding to their needs and benefiting them directly. This is only possible if administrations decentralize the decision-making process and operational responsibilities to the field, where it is easier to perceive the people's needs and establish a dialogue with them, and where innovatory solutions can be implemented to solve specific local problems. For example, socio-cultural factors may result in collective forestry plantations being promoted on a large scale in one region, while in another the emphasis will be on individual tree-planting, using fruit-bearing as well as forestry species. Actions concerned with fuelwood therefore constitute a particularly good opportunity for changing the traditional relations between forestry administrations and the people and developing direct approaches which uphold their interests and respond to their needs.

In most cases the solution to fuelwood problems will have to be implemented within a wider framework embracing not only the other productive and protective contributions of the forest vegetation but also close association with other uses of the land and integration in rural development programmes. This entails dialogue and coordination with the other agricultural technical services in the field, so that the integration of trees into the rural environment may be evidenced also by the coordinated approach adopted by the various disciplines and authorities concerned with this environment. The ultimate purpose must be to illustrate to the peasants the advantages of a system of land use that combines trees and crops.

Adaptation of the institutional structures as briefly suggested here is not only indispensable for translating fuelwood strategies rapidly into actions and concrete results: it will also show the degree of commitment by governments to these strategies and the amount of political support, an essential factor in motivating the people.

8.3.2 Training

The institutional framework cannot undergo a significant and tangible change unless the staff who translate this change into reality are themseleves prepared for the new tasks and evince new attitudes. But almost everywhere the large-scale actions required come up against the problem of lack of personnel and inadequate qualification of the staff that do exist. In many cases the inadequacy of the existing forestry staff constitutes the major constraint to any intensification of forestry activities and this deficiency is most marked among the technical field staff, who are the most indispensable. Implementation of a fuelwood strategy will therefore have to entail critical analysis of the capacities of the existing personnel and of the indispensable training measures required.

In order to increase the number of qualified personnel it will be necessary not . only to increase the training capacities of the existing institutions, but also to make use of flexible, perhaps more economic, solutions which will enlarge the number of technicians without simultaneously enlarging the number of officials. Because of the decisive role of the technical field staff, their training must receive prior attention. The capacities for normal long training will generally have to be strengthened, and courses for accelerated, refresher and advanced training will have to be increased. Where the national institutions are not immediately able to meet training requirements, multinational actions can resolve the problem during the transitional period, either by recourse to institutions existing in neighbouring countries with similar conditions, or by the organization of special programmes to train instructors.

The novelty of the strategic guidelines for action as compared with the traditional forestry actions requires thorough revision of the contents of forestry training. This revision must cover the socio-economic as well as the technical contents. particular importance must be given to the insertion of wooded elements or trees into the landscape, to knowledge of local species and quick-growing, multiple-purpose species, to methods for regenerating and increasing the productivity of natural formations and for planting and managing artificial stands, and to the relationship between agriculture, grazing and forestry, to cite only a few outstanding aspects.

The staff are obviously even more important than the techniques for the success of programmes connected with wood energy, and it is essential that they receive preparation in sociological and economic aspects, oriented towards understanding of the specific social, cultural and economic background of the people on whose behalf the programmes are to be undertaken: the particular characteristics of the subsistence or transition economies, the function of the tree and its integration into the rural environment, the structures and processes of decision-making and allocation of resources and benefits are just a few of the aspects it is essential to know in order to understand the needs and motivation of the people and guide the technicians in their approach.

An in-depth revision of forestry training is therefore essential for the successful implementation of actions concerned with fuelwood; and it is urgent that this revision be undertaken quickly, so that these actions can be implemented before irreversible degradation occurs in too many situations.

8.3.3 The people

The interest and active participation of the people are essential factors that have conditioned the success, or in their absence the failure, of all programmes undertaken to date: moreover, they alone are able to scale down the effort needed to obtain the large-scale impact desired. Interest and participation are encouraged by information and extension work; but also by internal factors such as social organization, equitable procedures for decision-making and distribution of costs and benefits, a real awareness of the consequences of a scarcity of fuelwood and of deforestation, the dynamic role that can be played by those particularly concerned, the women; and by inserting the effort regarding fuelwood within an overall development framework,

In many situations in which fuelwood is a problem, the rural people are concerned with many other acute survival problems and give immediate priority to the problems of water and food production: the supply of wood for energy and the negative consequences of · deforestation are not seen as an important priority, at least not until degradation has become so serious as to be practically irreversible. It is therefore essential to inform these people about the process of degradation into which they may find themselves led, and on its dangers; at the same time they must be brought to realize, by demonstration and extension work, that they can play an active role and even assume responsibility for reversing these situations, and that such actions may also respond to their other requirements. It is therefore essential that the species to be planted be carefully chosen so as to include species known locally, increase the amount of fodder or feed as well as of wood available, lead to the creation of jobs and income, produce the first products or services in as short a time as possible, etc. At the same time, the diffusion of simple appropriate techniques will increase awareness of the active role that each individual can play.

Information and extension work should be aimed in the first place at those members of the population who are most directly concerned with the supply and use of wood fuel. In this connection the women can play a vital role both in increasing awareness and in promoting action, because it is they who are most directly affected by the fuelwood problem: not only are they usually responsible for collecting the fuelwood and using it in the home, they also play in some cases an essential role in marketing it. Recent studies have also shown women's potential impact at the production level, in the form of individual stands associated with the gardens around their houses or in the fields. The women must be systematically considered as a dynamic element in decision-making and action at all stages, because of their energy needs and their normal active role in traditional societies.

The people will become more quickly and keenly aware of the situation the more opinion - forming activities are backed up by incentive measures. These could consist of providing compensation for the immediate losses in land, available labour or agricultural production resulting from plantations, or encouraging the rural people to protect their sources of fuelwood, or complementing forestry measures with actions to meet needs more immediately felt (roads, schools, health centres). These incentive measures can take many different forms, monetary and non-monetary, subsidies or loans, etc. They constitute a powerful means of motivation, to be framed according to the specific requirements and characteristics of each rural community.

Finally, it is necessary to emphasize the impact that the process of mobilizing efforts around the problem of fuelwood can have on the dynamics of development in a rural community. This is linked first of all with the multiple effects of forest vegetation, from supply of the wood indispensable for fire and construction to the maintenance of a viable and productive environment, including the supply of food for people and their livestock. Bat examples such as that of the Republic of Korea or of Gujarat in India have shown that an organized effort, with the participation of the local inhabitants, to improve the fuelwood situation, can act as the catalyzer for a process of development, economic growth and social transformation. These programmes possess many of the conditions for success. But there are also other, more limited examples, in such difficult conditions as in the Sahel, which show that the task, though arduous, is possible. Owing to the complexity of the fuelwood problem and the need to combine actions over the entire chain from production to utilization, any programme of action on a certain scale touches in one way or another many aspects of the life and organization of a rural community: land-use planning, intensification of agriculture and integration of trees, silvo-pastoral organization, collection and marketing of wood fuel, organization of its domestic use, grouping or association of individuals to carry out the work and share the products, participation of women and children, etc. Apart from supplying- energy, such a programme has an impact that coincides with the fundamental guidelines for development, such as improving conditions of life for the poorest sectors, helping to achieve self-sufficiency, strengthening the process of participation and decision - making at local level, diversifying activities and creating or increasing employment and income, stabilizing or improving environmental conditions suitable for life and economic activities, facilitating the transition towards a structured economic organization ensuring equitable distribution of efforts, production and benefits. Such programmes are therefore particularly suitable for encouraging initiative and the organization of individual and collective efforts in rural areas and for promoting a dynamic process of development.

8.3.4 Research

The main solutions to the technical problems of fuelwood are more or less known. They are based on relatively simple technologies, which makes it easier to apply them and get them accepted in the developing countries than is the case for any other form of renewable energy. However, research has accorded too little importance to the production and use of wood energy in recent years: considerable research is needed if programmes of action are to be launched without delay on the scale necessary.

Research requirements have been reviewed in several recent studies, in particular a joint document by FAO and the World Bank published in 1981¹. These studies emphasize the absolute necessity of intensifying research on technical aspects in order to increase the productivity of woody formations in biomass and energy and promote more efficient use of the supplies available. At the same time the newer aspects of the integration of forestry into rural development, as regards both the protective and the productive functions of the forest, must be the subject of systematic attention. In this connection the development of integrated agro-silvicultural systems based on the use of quick-growing, multi-purpose species, possibly leguminous, is of top priority. The third essential aspect of this research effort concerns the human sciences; the social and economic features of local communities, their present organization and their potential engagement in activities concerned with producing and using wood fuel. Understanding of the needs and aptitudes of the local people conditions the success of any action, but the most elementary information is still too often lacking.

¹ Forestry Research Neets in Developing Countries - Time for a Reappraisal? FAO/World Bank, August 1981.

In addition to reorienting research efforts, it is indispensable to increase the research staff and equipment in the countries where the programmes are to be carried out. Only thus can particular local conditions really be taken into account and suitable solution devised. Systematic exchange and accelerated distribution of information on results, successes and failures, and new developments can stimulate and accelerate the impact of the programmes. But in most cases the training of research workers constitutes the necessary precondition to any strengthening of research.

In conclusion, immediate solutions are possible to situations of obvious seriousness, provided these solutions are based on a stratification of specific local characteristics and use appropriate combinations of actions concerned not only with supplies but also with their distribution and use. Two key factors can accelerate implementation of the solutions: a) the advantages of the forest biomass as a local, renewable source of energy which at the same time provides other important goods and services, such as stabilizing the environment; b) the relative simplicity of the techniques to be employed, which do not require any basically new technology, but merely a special effort to spread information and knowledge and to motivate the executors.

There are many obstacles, but the actions required can and should be implemented using locally available resources and with the active participation of the people. Both because of the nature of the institutional, economic and social constraints to be overcome, and because of the manifold aspects of production, distribution and use of wood fuel, any fuelwood programme goes well beyond the sole dimension of supplying energy. It constitutes a special opportunity to mobilize efforts and help to stimulate development by improving the energy situation within the framework of a more solid economic basis and better conditions of life.

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