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IUFRO launches "World series" of publications

The International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) has launched a new series of publications of global interest. Called the "World series", the first two volumes are, respectively, a multilingual Vocabulary of forest management and a Forest decimal classification system. This series is intended to make the best and most widely based scientific and technical forestry information available to a larger audience than has been possible up to now.

Vocabulary of forest management

The initial proposal for a comprehensive multilingual forestry terminology was advanced as long ago as 1949 during the Third World Forestry Congress, held in Helsinki, Finland, but the Terminology of forest science, technology, practice and products (commonly known as the Ford Robertson, because of the initial work of the then director of the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau) was not published until 1971 in English, in 1975 in French and in 1980 in Italian.

As the final work on the Ford Robertson was being completed in English, the IUFRO working group on forestry management planning and management economics also initiated the preparation of a six-language dictionary focusing specifically on forest management and forest statistics. Although a first version was completed in 1983, technical problems and organizational changes delayed publication. Finally, in 1990, the Vocabulary of forest management, covering more than 1 800 technical terms in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish) was published as a "comprehensive technical glossary for foresters, scientists, and students interested in forest management".

This volume is an important step toward fulfilling the long-standing need for a standardization of forestry vocabulary. However, as noted in the foreword by the current working party leader, O. Griess, the vocabulary should be regarded not as a static entity but as an indication of the state of knowledge at a given moment in a dynamic field.

Forest decimal classification

In 1933, the IUFRO Congress adopted a complete classification for forest literature, widely known as the "Flury system", because of the major input by Swiss forester P. Flury. Its main purpose was to promote the regular exchange of internationally important references among the member countries of IUFRO.

Rapid developments in forest research in the 1940s necessitated a revision and after more than a decade of discussion, the Oxford system of decimal classification for forestry (so-named because of the important contribution of the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau, Oxford) was finally presented to the IUFRO Congress in Rome in September 1953 and unanimously adopted. Two months later, the FAO Conference also approved the system and it was subsequently adopted by most forest libraries, institutes and documentation centres worldwide.

In the 1970s, it became apparent that the Oxford system was out of date, both in terms of reflecting the enormous progress in forestry research, and in terms of new needs created by the introduction of computer classification systems. Initially, there were suggestions that the Oxford system be completely abandoned but a worldwide survey conducted by IUFRO in 1980 confirmed its importance for forestry, as well as the enormous difficulties that would be encountered by libraries in a change-over. Therefore, in 1981, IUFRO embarked on the task of revising and updating the classification system. The revised Forest decimal classification (the name Oxford was dropped from the title in 1988) is now used by 190 institutions in 63 countries.

The current volume is a trilingual shortened version of the complete revised classification. It should be a valuable aid for forest libraries and documentation centres and for publishers of periodicals, vocabularies and bibliographies as well as for foresters, forest scientists and students with a substantial volume of personal documentation.

The third volume of the World series, dealing with forest legislation, is scheduled for publication before the end of 1991.

Farmer first: farmer innovation and agricultural research

Robert Chambers, Arnold Pacey and Lori Ann Thrupp, eds. London, Intermediate Technology Publications 1989.

Despite the fact that perhaps as much as one-third of the world's people depend on subsistence or small scale agriculture for their livelihood, their needs have been poorly served by the prevailing research methods. This has generated two responses: continuation of the conventional paradigm of "transfer of technology" from industrialized and high technology environments, and the development of new approaches and methods to agricultural research in which farmers participate. While giving due merit to the former, Farmer first focuses on the benefits of the latter approach.

Addressed to all those concerned with agricultural research, extension and development, regardless of discipline, profession or organization, Farmer first presents a number of nontraditional ways to approach agricultural research. Contributors from the agricultural and social sciences, ecology, economics and geography, make a strong case for methods that incorporate the farmer's own needs and capacity for innovation, as a complement to the traditional transfer of technology.

Throughout the book the term "farmer" is used as shorthand for the farm family. It gives special emphasis to poorer families, to those with few resources, and to women, who are commonly neglected or left out of the decision-making process. The importance of eliciting women's views, and of considering their important role in farm-based activities is a major and recurring theme of the book.

The editors set out one of the keys to the farmer-first approach in their preface:

"Instead of starting with the knowledge, problems, analysis and priorities of scientists, the farmer-first approach starts with the knowledge, problems, analysis and priorities of farmers and farm families. Instead of the research station as the main locus of action, it is now the farm. Instead of the scientist as the central experimenter, it is now the farmer, whether woman or man, and other members of the farm family."

The book is divided into four main sections. The first concerns farmer innovation, and illustrates the capacity of farmers, especially resource poor farmers, to experiment, adapt and innovate. The second section addresses methods that enable farmers' agendas to be put first. The third deals with practical participation by farmers. Finally, the fourth chapter considers the implications for institutions and action, both in the short and long term. Each of the four parts is preceded by a summary to help the reader gain a quick overview of the material. This format makes the book particularly useful as a training and teaching tool, convenient for universities, institutes or individuals.

The editors of Farmer first stress that this book is by no means the final word on the subject- it is only a part of the process, intended to stimulate and encourage readers to learn from farmers' innovations, to put farmers' agendas first, and to support their full participation in development efforts. Although the book does not specifically deal with forestry, the approaches described could be profitably applied; it is therefore highly recommended - as are the other works by Chambers.

D. Fromson

A brighter future for the Sahel

Le Sahel en lutte contre la désertification - leçons d'expérience. René Rochette, ed. Weikersheim, Germany, Verlag Josef Margrat. 1989.

It has been fashionable for a long time to be over-pessimistic about the Sahel and its future and especially about the capacity of the region to cope with recurrent droughts and desertification. After a review of a score of experiences in the field involving governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, national and international NGOs and local populations, this book concludes with a refreshing perspective of a better, even bright, future for the Sahel, a region that is gradually coming back to life, and will live for ever.

This well-written and easy-to-read book (592 pages including illustrations) is a collective effort involving the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought

Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and a core group of field experts who have reviewed activities and experiences over the past ten to 15 years, with funding provided by Programme Allemand CILSS, the support programme of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). The wealth o f information gathered has been processed and edited by René Rochette to provide lessons for the future and especially to build on the bright spots and the confidence that have come to light among the Sahelian populations.

In Part I, "Experiences in desertification control and the development of the Sahel", 21 experiences are reviewed covering a variety of activities including people's organization, cropland rehabilitation, erosion control, energy plantations and sand dune stabilization. Each case-study presents the local environment, the natural resources, social group involved, the main techniques used, costs and implementation problems and, finally, lessons learned.

The second part of the book, "The ways of experience", draws, more general lessons from experience and observations of what has been happening in the Sahel. It characterizes desertification as "our misery-bearing plague"; reviews what can be seen as consolidated techniques of desertification control in the experiences studied; describes people's participation approaches; and finally sets out principles and objectives, methodology, prospects and limits of the so-called global (integrated) approach.

The conclusion, drawing on specific achievements, expresses confidence that the Sahel's populations can hope for a progressively better future. Overall, the book seeks to convey the message that by fully involving populations in activities addressing their real needs; by proposing reasonable, global (integrated) approaches; by basing development activities in the local territorial units (the "terroirs"); and by adapting institutional processes and the activities of funding agencies to local conditions it is possible to reverse negative trends and rehabilitate the basic resources and the economy.

E.H. Sène

Publications of the IUFRO Working Party on Forest Law and Related Legislation

Forstwissenschaftliche Beiträge, No. 10: Forestry legislation. F. Schmithüsen, ed. Zürich, ETH. 1990

The IUFRO Working Party on Forest Law and Related Legislation was created to promote international cooperation on research related to legal aspects of forest lands and forestry. It also encourages the development and application of methods and procedures for cooperative studies on law and legislation in a forestry context.

The working party focuses on, but is not limited to, the topics of: provision of forest legislation concerning public and private forestry organizations and programmes; the judicial interpretation of legislation into common law; the development of rules and regulations that are used to implement forest laws; the relationship and coordination with forestry-related legislation such as environmental law, conservation law, land-use law and economic development law; and the relationship between legislation, policy formulation and implementation.

Since 1984, the IUFRO Working Party has published four volumes of papers prepared by its members. The most recent, prepared for the Nineteenth IUFRO World Conference, held in Montreal in August 1990, contains 24 papers from developed and developing country participants. They cover a wide range of subjects and problems, demonstrating the many and complex relations between policy, legislation and administration, as well as the important links between environmental conservation, natural resource management, rural development and forestry. They should encourage further analytical and comparative studies on the legislative and institutional framework that is required to ensure the protection and wise use of forest lands.

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