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Since 1984 the Community Forestry Unit of FAO has been working on materials to illustrate the extremely important links between forestry and nutrition. During the past five years the Unit has published a range of different materials on the subject. Additionally, it has supported Asian and African Nutrition Division workshops for forest policy makers, forestry project managers and nutritionists. FAO has found that the integration of nutritional or food security objectives is perceived to be more tangible than other poverty indicators and greatly interests forestry policy makers and programme implementors. This field manual is an attempt to make the link between nutrition and forestry projects more explicit and to give ideas about how forestry projects should proceed.

This approach is new both to forestry and nutrition. Convential measures of nutritional well-being are often neither feasible nor desirable when focusing on nutrition as it relates to forestry. Most forestry activities cannot independently eliminate the basic and complex causes of malnutrition in such a way as to show a measurable difference in the growth of babies at the end of a project. However, there are things that can be done if nutritional problems and their causes are to be identified and nutritionally vulnerable groups are to benefit. Often it is a matter of expanding, in a nutritionally informed way, the selection of species in the nurseries and focusing distribution so that vulnerable groups gain access. Other times it is establishing a forest management plan that takes into consideration the foods and other nutritionally valuable products communities use. This field manual identifies some less direct activities as well and describes the necessary steps for planning, implementing monitoring and evaluating a forestry project that includes measurable nutritional objectives.

Cynthia Ogden, a nutrition planner, has been helping develop and focus the Community Forestry Unit's study of the links between forestry and nutrition almost since the Unit began its investigations. She has helped analyse the relevant literature and design workshops, and has given presentations on the subject. She developed these guidelines and incorporated many of the concerns of forestry policy makers, project implementers and national nutritionists who have reviewed them. Britta Ogle, Jacqueline Landman, Julia Falconer, Elizabeth Campbell and William Sunderlan provided significant input. Several people from the Food Policy and Nutrition Division of FAO also provided ideas. The effort was directed by the Community Forestry Unit and partially funded by the Forests, Trees and People Programme a multi-donor trust fund dedicated to increasing the sustainability of the livelihoods of men and women throughout the developing world, especially the rural poor, through self-help management of tree and forest resources.

This is the first field manual of its type. It is being produced and circulated with the hope that it will be read, tested and then revised based upon comments from the field. People are encouraged to send their comments to the Community Forestry Unit, Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Marilyn W. Hoskins
Senior Community Forestry Officer
Planning and Institutions Service
Forestry Department
Food and Agriculture Organization

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