The future - A framework for action


Development objectives
Immediate objectives
Special considerations
Main lines for action



FAO's outlook on the future use and development of non-wood forest products has evolved from substantial experience in many settings over the past four decades. Some aspects of that experience have been outlined in the foregoing pages. This experience can serve as a basis for seeking consensus and setting realistic courses of action for the international community as it surveys an uncertain future for the world's forests, its forest lands and the people who depend on them.

Though still an evolving process, adoption of a programmatic approach will fulfil many critical needs, while the consequences of inaction or lack of coordinated action are likely to be costly indeed in human, economic and biological terms.

The framework for action that follows, identifies three main types of proposed targets. Under a set of broad development objectives for the medium and long-term, it itemizes a number of crucial immediate objectives that, once achieved, will clear the way for more orchestrated efforts. Finally, it pinpoints a number of special considerations that nobody whose labours are dedicated to more and better use of non-wood forest products can afford to ignore in the short or longer term.

Development objectives


Natural ecosystems conservation: Natural ecosystems should be conserved and their biodiversity maintained. More versatile and better-organized use of a wider range of products yielded by forest ecosystems, can bring these goals measurably nearer.

Rural income and employment opportunities: Profitable activities in forest lands that will generate more income and new employment opportunities, should be fostered within managed programmes and projects for sustainable rural development.

Sustainable community livelihoods: Living standards, welfare and food security of people living in rural communities in forest areas should be improved in a format that persists from generation to generation. Efficient and rational utilization to recover the full value of goods and services yielded by forests, forest lands and woodlands, will help build such sustainable livelihoods.

Women selling Landolfia asulis and cashew apples at market (Guinea Bissau).

Forests as a life support system: The natural, social and economic contribution of forest ecosystems to sustainable development in rural areas, should be husbanded and given scope to increase in quantity and quality.

Utilization of forests as a supplier of wealth. (This image has been taken from the Awareness Campaign.)

Diversification and productivity: A wider range of non wood forest products and services should be utilized and the productivity of such uses raised, in order to boost the benefits to rural communities of sustainable development efforts.

Immediate objectives


Awareness: Political and general awareness of the importance of non-wood forest products should be raised in order to attract investment and orient activities in this field.

Knowledge bases: Investigative research, surveys and other means of collecting and accessing information and quantitative data on non-wood forest products should be given increasing priority.

Transfer of knowledge and skills: Personal skills, technical expertise and managerial capability to formulate policies, plans, programmes and activities affecting non-wood forest products, should be constantly improved and widely shared through training and other means of information exchange.

Institutional development: Relevant national institutions should be given optimum scope to raise yields and enhance the productivity of non-wood goods and services from forest sources, giving due attention to effective conservation and care of forest resources.

Networking and international linkages: International, regional and national cooperation should be mutually developed through cooperative networks. Coordination and liaison between intergovernmental organizations such as FAO, UNDP, WB, ITTO, UNEP, UNESCO, UNIDO, ILO, and non-governmental and private voluntary organizations involved in promoting or improving the use of non-wood forest resources, should be strengthened.

Special considerations


While developing countries have great resources of biodiversity and great wealth in tropical forests, the technology to harness this wealth - other than timber lies very much in developed countries and often in the private sector. The development of sophisticated technologies and improved biotechnologies offer opportunities for harnessing the yet undiscovered wealth within the multitude of biodiversity that exists in tropical forests. M.N. Salleh (Director General, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia).

A participatory approach: Initiatives to improve rational utilization of forest resources should aim at optimizing benefits to local communities and should be custom-made, allowing full participation of local people in all programme or project phases from conception to completion. This participatory approach should blend local knowledge and skills with science-based principles of environmentally sound forest management and sustainable forest utilization.

Common factors: As a rule, all such initiatives should promote diversification of forest activities, increase revenues from forests and improve food security, nutritional standards and health care in the local population through more abundant and better - managed use of the resources in their vicinity.

Breaking down barriers: To succeed, popular approaches to improved management of non-wood forest products should encourage new and closer relationships between governments, NGOs and local community associations.

Gender fairness: The role of women in managing and using non-wood forest products should be acknowledged and their views and knowledge duly heeded in the participatory process.

Main lines for action


Objectives and parameters having been established, their translation into action is expected to take the form of a combination of programme activities involving many sectors and geared to varying levels of responsibility. These activities will be grouped according to their point of impact, as follows:

• Conserving multiple roles and functions of forest ecosystems by developing suitable management techniques to upgrade production of forest products other than timber and enhance the service functions of forest lands.

• Through research and development, improving and establishing environmentally sound resource utilization techniques and harvesting operations that involve NWFP.

• Identifying NWFP with the greatest development potential in a given situation and for these:

- Promoting efficient, rational and sustainable utilization of all types of non-timber forest products and services by developing socially acceptable, economically feasible and environmentally sound forest-based processing industries and enterprises.

- Building up more efficient trade and market infrastructures that will increase demand for non-wood forest products and their profitability, while creating opportunities to market new products, in order to optimize revenues from a full range of goods and services based on trees and forests.

Chain of concerns

Utilization and marketing of non-wood products involves a chain of procedures, interest groups and market factors, all of which must be heeded when further development is contemplated.

LIST OF FAO FORESTRY PROJECTS

COUNTRY

FUNDING SOURCE

DURATION (YEARS)

TYPE OF PROJECT

Bhutan

UNDP

9.5

Technical assistance to mushroom development

Bhutan

FAO

2

Production of essential oils by smallholders in remote areas

Burkina Faso

UNDP

4

Wildlife management

Cape Verde, Mali & Burkina Faso

Italy (Trust funds)

2

Forest and food security

Central Africa Republic

UNDP

6

Wildlife management

Cuba

FAO

2

Production of medicinal plants

India

UNDP

2

Establishment of the Wildlife Institute of India

Indonesia

Japan

3

Development of crocodile industry

Madagascar

UNDP

2

Crocodile breeding programme

Mediterranean Near East

Italy (Trust funds)

2

Forestry and food security in Mediterranean and

Nepal

UNDP

3

Cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants

Pakistan

UNDP

5

Animal feed development resource project

Philippines

UNDP

5

Bamboo research and development

Somalia

FAO

2

Strengthening of wildlife management

Uganda

UNDP

5.5

Support to wildlife and national parks