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Trees in farming systems

In the semi-arid and subhumid zones of West Africa, farmers have maintained agroforestry parklands for many generations. This traditional land use system is characterized by the deliberate retention of trees on cultivated or recently fallowed land. The trees are an integral part of the system; they provide food, fuel, fodder, medicinal products, building materials and saleable commodities, as well as contributing to the maintenance of soil fertility, water conservation and environmental protection.

This publication synthesizes the state of knowledge on the biophysical, nutritional, socio-cultural, economic, political and management aspects of parkland agroforestry. It outlines the main avenues for sustaining and improving these systems as well as the kinds of information and experience needed to help address unanswered questions.

Although the area covered is sub-Saharan Africa, the main emphasis is on the semi-arid and subhumid zones of West Africa, with occasional references to central, eastern and southern Africa. The focus is on agroforestry systems with scattered multipurpose trees in fields and fallows. Other agroforestry configurations and technologies such as live fences, fodder banks and so forth, which are also found within parkland systems, are not covered.

Emphasis is also given to the central role of farmers in establishing and maintaining parklands with the suggestion that, despite conditions that have led to parkland degradation in many places in the Sahel, these systems are remarkably dynamic and resilient. In several locations they are being effectively maintained and even expanded through the concerted efforts of local populations.

In its conclusion, the publication identifies crucial research needs and promising avenues for promoting sustainable natural resource management through parkland systems.

Agroforestry parklands in sub-Saharan Africa is targeted at rural development practitioners and policy-makers, particularly those focusing on Africa. However, it should also be of interest to professionals working on agroforestry systems in other regions.

Views of forestry in urban settings

Urban and peri-urban forestry has an important potential role in addressing the social and environmental problems associated with rapid and uncontrolled urbanization in many parts of the developing world. Particular contributions that demand to be explored are the provision of needed tree products, the protection of environmental services and the enhancement of urban areas. To promote and develop efficient and effective urban forestry actions, it is necessary to acquire an understanding of the human, economic and ecological processes at play. It is also important to build up technical knowledge and to evolve management strategies that take into account the need for integration and the socio-economic relevance of activities implemented.

This publication presents six case studies:

There is much to learn from the experiences gained by these cities, which face a wide range of issues and constraints. In the Sahel, urban populations suffer from the desertification process and associated lack of fuelwood, water and other environmental services. In the Southeast Asian cities profiled, the fast growth rate, the high population density and the intensive city infrastructure constitute serious constraints to tree establishment and landscape design. In Quito, land tenure and speculation problems are obstacles to good land use planning. In Rio de Janeiro, where slum communities on steep hillsides surround the city centre, community reforestation is seen as a means of providing employment, preventing erosion and safeguarding water quality. Cairo and Tehran face severe environmental degradation and high levels of air, noise, water and soil pollution.

The case studies illustrate the progress made in the selection of species adapted to urban environments, tree planting and management techniques, urban landscape planning, greening policies and public participation. They also highlight the need for further work. These case studies will be a valuable reference for urban planners, city managers, non-governmental organizations and other individuals and groups involved in urban forestry.

Promoting collaborative management of natural resources

The promotion of collaborative management is based on the assumption that effective management is more likely to occur when local resource users have shared or even exclusive rights to make decisions about and to benefit from resource use. Collaborative management systems - comprising arrangements for management that are negotiated by multiple stakeholders, and processes for sharing power and decision-making among stakeholders - are of increasing interest as a strategy for promoting rural development and resource conservation.

As recognition of the importance of participation has evolved, it has become increasingly evident that although rural community analysis is often emphasized, in many cases little attention is given to applying the results of such analyses to planning and implementing initiatives. In addition, it is timely to re-evaluate the role of natural resource management professionals, projects and other initiatives in the transition associated with devolution of the responsibility and authority for natural resource management to rural communities.

This publication promotes participatory approaches for providing support to collaborative management. After an introduction presenting the various types of participatory processes, the book outlines the processes of building a support programme, providing support at selected sites and withdrawing support in an orderly way. It identifies the actors involved and the features of an enabling environment for collaborative management and, finally, presents some practical aspects of managing a support programme, including design constraints and the necessary skills for managing relations with other stakeholders.

The overview is the first module of a multimodule package that is currently being developed on participatory processes by the FAO Community Forestry Unit.

An investigation of natural resource management conflicts

Why does conflict occur over the use of natural resources? How are external factors built into local conflicts? What governing mechanisms are conducive to equitable and sustainable natural resource management by communities? When do local strategies for conflict management need to be complemented or replaced by external or new mechanisms? How can research help identify opportunities for turning conflict into collaboration? Why is collaboration in natural resource management so difficult?

Cultivating peace grapples with these questions. The volume presents original case studies from ten countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, interspersed with essays on the cultural dimensions of conflict, the meaning of stakeholder analysis, the impact of development interventions on peace and conflict and the policy dimensions of conflict management.

The mixture of case studies and conceptual analysis, presented in an accessible, conversational style, provides insights on knowledge and strategic gaps in understanding the conditions that need to be met to move from conflict to collaboration.

Cultivating peace should appeal to researchers, scholars and students in political science, natural resource management, development studies and conflict resolution. In addition, the book will be of potential value to donors and development practitioners.

Coping with Imperata infestation

Imperata cylindrica is a sun-loving perennial grass, with flammable above-ground foliage and extensive below-ground rhizomes. It is propagated by seeds and lateral growth of its rhizome system.

While forests are the natural, original vegetation in nearly all of Southeast Asia, Imperata grasslands are now widespread. When forests are disturbed by logging, shifting agriculture or burning, Imperata grass often takes over. The seeds are easily transmitted by wind, and the species quickly establishes itself on wet or dry, fertile or infertile soils. Once established, the grass is highly flammable. Even three days without rain can dry out the grass enough to carry a fire. Fire stimulates both flowering and immediate regrowth of Imperata rhizomes, but damages other forest vegetation. If fires are frequent, the grass becomes completely dominant, forming a monoculture punctuated by scattered fire-resistent trees and shrubs.

Areas infested with Imperata grass are often considered useless wastelands. This small book argues convincingly that Imperata grasslands can be rehabilitated, but only if local people are involved and can be convinced that a forest system will increase their income and well-being.

The manual is written to assist in the rehabilitation of areas infested with Imperata cylindrica into agroforestry sites or full-canopy forests. It presents techniques intended for use in medium-sized grasslands within the area controlled by single villages or communities. The publication is designed for extensionists, agriculturists, foresters, development workers and others who may work to assist communities and smallholders in the design and implementation of Imperata grassland rehabilitation activities. The text is extensively supported with instructive line drawings.

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