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About the field manual

This manual is based on the premise that institutions shape individuals' behaviour and that these institutions can be modified to encourage different patterns of conduct. The purpose of the manual is (1) to help those involved with community forestry projects to better understand the importance of institutional issues to the success of their initiatives and (2) to provide a systematic approach to gathering information about and addressing institutional issues that arise during project development and implementation. This manual is directed primarily to the field staff of community forestry projects and programmes, and to their local counterparts working in government agencies, and to policy-makers.

Chapter 1 of the manual introduces community forestry and the role of institutional issues in community forestry projects. Chapter 2 begins with a brief introduction to some of the key concepts involved in institutional issues. Beginning with Chapter 2, each chapter ends with a box offering practical guidelines for addressing the issues raised during an institutional analysis. This is followed by an example of a case study from a fictitious community forestry initiative in Niger. The case study illustrates the key institutional and governance issues raised in the chapter, adding new complexities as additional issues are raised in the manual.

Chapters 3, 4 and 5 break down the institutional analysis into parts, and each chapter addresses one aspect of the analysis. Each of these chapters defines an issue that is important to understanding the institutional context. Chapter 3 focuses on the characteristics of the resource and how those characteristics determine people's incentives to manage the resource more or less sustainably. Chapter 4 looks at the community in which institutional arrangements exist and offers suggestions on how to assess the community's capacity to engage in collective decisions about resource management. Chapter 5 examines the characteristics of different rules systems and their impact on communities and the use of resources.

On the basis of these three conceptual issues (the characteristics of the resource, the community and the rules system), Chapter 6 moves on to consider the practical implications of carrying out an institutional analysis. It divides the process of institutional analysis and reform into seven steps, which use the information contained in Chapters 3-5 to focus the community's efforts where they will have the greatest impact on improving resource management. Chapter 7 addresses complicating institutional factors, some local and some turning on the character of relations between local communities and the state, financing agencies and commercial interests.

Other Documents Related to Tree and Forest Management

The Community Forestry Unit (CFU) and FTPP have developed a series of documents supporting the understanding of local tree and forest management and focusing on three aspects: tenure; institutional and legal analysis; and communal management. These materials address a range of issues related to management of tree and forest resources. It is intended that these documents will be relevant to policy-makers as well as practitioners in forestry programmes The entire set of documents would be useful to universities and training centres.

Tenure. A concept paper examines and clarifies the issues of tenure related to community forestry (Community Forestry Note 5, Community forestry: rapid appraisal of tree and land tenure, 1989). A field manual presents rapid appraisal tools for field use (Community Forestry Field Manual 4, Tree and land tenure: rapid appraisal tools, 1994). A case study from Nepal adapts and illustrates the use of the methodology to obtain tenure information useful for project management (Community Forestry Case Study 9, Tree and land tenure in the Eastern Terai, Nepal. A case study from the Siraha and Saptari Districts, Nepal, 1993). A case study from Madagascar illustrates the use of the field manual in policy level analysis (Community Forestry Case Study 10, Tree and land tenure: using rapid appraisal to study natural resource management. A case study from Anivorano, Madagascar, 1995).

Institutional and Legal Analysis. A concept paper analyses elements for understanding rules followed by stake-holding groups related to attributes of the tree resource and to incentives or disincentives for community members to expand or to manage tree and woodland resources (Community Forestry Note 10, A framework for analyzing institutional incentives in community forestry, 1992). A field manual applies these concepts to field conditions for increasing successful planning, implementation and evaluation of forestry activities (Community Forestry Field Manual 7, Crafting institutional arrangements for community forestry, 1997) A working paper is being developed which analyses the legal environments in which local forest management takes place and in what ways these often vulnerable systems can be supported through laws and regulations (to be published in 1998).

Communal Management. This group of publications starts with an analysis of relevant literature from Latin America, Asia and Sahelien Africa (Community Forestry Note 11, Common forest resource management: annotated bibliography of Asia, Africa and Latin America, 1993). This publication raised issues confirming that literature from the various sites in different or even the same regions was not comparable as consistent data had not been collected from site to site. FAO initiated development of a data collection list and a relational database for organizing and analysing data (the International Forestry Resources and Institutions or IFRI programme) at Indiana University with the collaboration of a number of institutions and with an international network of research centres and researchers. The programme will publish a working paper about the information developed through IFRI.

A state of knowledge document is also being released systematizing and analysing the latest information and understanding on what organizational structure works in managing forest resources, and when support to ongoing systems or introduction of new communal systems may effectively improve the local economy and the sustainability of the resource (to be published in 1998).

A complete list of Community Forestry publications and videos is included at the end of this manual, and also information on how to order copies of these materials.

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