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This study forms part of FAO’s programmes to strengthen forestry activities which directly benefit rural people in developing countries.

The linkages through which rural people draw directly on forests and forest products take many forms, ranging from the use of forest land for shifting cultivation to small processing enterprises based upon raw materials from the forest. Some forest products, such as fuelwood, are essential to meeting people’s basic needs. In aggregate it is likely that almost all rural people in non-industrial countries depend on forests and trees for at least some of the inputs into their life systems.

The present study focuses on one of the most important production strategies which meets such needs - tree growing by rural people. With the accelerating depletion of natural forest resources, such local tree growing activities are rapidly increasing in importance as the principal means of maintaining needed supplies of forest products. Over the past few years programmes to encourage and support rural people in these efforts have become one of the principal tasks of forest services.

Considerable experience with such programmes has now accumulated. The purpose of this study is to bring together as much of that experience as possible, and in so doing both to assemble a clearer picture of the different circumstances in which the growing, managing and use of trees and tree outputs is of benefit to rural people and to indicate the most effective ways in which support can be provided.

M.A. Flores - Rodas
Assistant Director-General
Forestry Department

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