Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Forest management trends in societies entering the post-industrial age

Communities and forest management in Canada and the United States. By M. Poffenberger. 1990. Berkeley, CA, USA, Working Group on Community Involvement in Forestry Management.

Communities and forest management in Canada and the United States.

Political changes and economic restructuring in both developed and developing countries have often led to budget cuts in already under funded government forestry agencies, hindering their ability to manage national forests sustainably. This situation has served as a catalyst for innovative forest management, as some forest agencies have forged new partnerships with local communities and created a new dynamic, animated by citizen coalitions and regional processes incorporating diverse stakeholder groups. The first in a regional series, this report examines forest management experiences of Canada and the United States, which have interrelated histories, economies and similar ecological and social systems. Differences in government structures and policy-making processes allow for interesting comparisons. Together, these two nations possess 17 percent of the earth's forestland, representing a variety of ecotypes and immense biodiversity, and many of their experiences are relevant to other parts of the world. After a general introduction,

Part II provides a national overview of the history of forest use, beginning with the ways native people shaped forest ecology prior to the arrival of Europeans and continuing on through the colonial and industrial periods. Part III briefly reviews the biological characteristics of major forest types, forest use trends and regional management issues. Part IV describes the evolution of national and provincial government systems of forest administration in the two countries. Part V includes 12 case studies that illustrate both local initiatives and national policy dialogues. All cases reflect major contexts of community involvement in forest management decision-making, from indigenous peoples to broader civil society. Finally, Part VI discusses emerging trends toward greater community collaboration in public land management.

The report appeals to a diverse audience, including international policy-makers, national planners engaged in shaping forest management strategies, forestry practitioners and development specialists.

A pan-African workshop on non-timber forest products

Non-timber forest products: value, use and management issues in Africa, including examples from Latin America. By S.A. Crafter, J. Awimbo and A.J. Broekhoven. 1997. IUCN Forest Conservation Programme.
ISBN: 2-8317-0317-4.

Although non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can generate both direct (commercial and subsistence) and indirect (ecological processes, biological diversity, cultural, ritual/heritage) benefits, their utilization and management have been overlooked in strategies and programmes for forest conservation management. In May 1994, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) organized a pan-African workshop in Kenya to provide a forum for individuals and institutions to exchange information and experience and analyse the potential role of NFTPs in forest management and conservation strategies. The 43 participants from 14 African and four Latin American countries included representatives of research institutions, forest departments, field projects, NGOs and international organizations.

This publication includes the workshop proceedings, consisting of three parts:

· A summary of the workshop discussions, which focused on identifying major issues in relation to NTFPs and opportunities for follow-up activities by the participants and others. Discussions centred on the following themes: values, valuation and impact of NFTPs; approaches to sustainable use and conservation of NFTPs; policy, legal and institutional issues; and opportunities for follow up.

· A selection from the papers on thematic topics that were presented and discussed during the workshop. Eleven case studies from African countries and four studies from Latin American countries focus on the role of non-timber products in particular areas, as well as the more general situation of NTFP use in the respective regions.

· Country overviews of 15 countries, covering crucial issues related to NFTPs. Each overview provides a brief introduction to the country's forest cover and deforestation rate, management institutions, policy and legislation; to the country's key non-timber forest products; and to special projects. Country maps indicate tropical closed moist forest and areas in conservation/ protection reserves. Each report is followed by a bibliography.

ILO publishes new code of practice on occupational safety and health in forest work

Safety and health in forest work. 1996. Geneva, International Labour Office.

Forest work has remained one of the most hazardous occupations in most countries in spite of the efforts of many governments, companies and individuals to make the profession safer. Forestry also has more than its share of occupational diseases when compared with other sectors. While the situation is worst in tropical countries, much remains to be done in temperate ones as well. Encouragingly, there are a growing number of governments and companies that are not prepared to accept fatalities, accidents and routine early retirement as a fact of life. A new ILO publication, Safety and health in forest work, draws on state-of-the-art international experience to provide guidance for the design and implementation of safety and health management at all levels from country through enterprises to the work site.

The code covers all types of forest workers, including groups such as contractors, self-employed and forest farmers, which often have higher than average accident frequencies. The code does not focus on technical measures and safe performance, but emphasizes that safety starts at the top at the national level, particularly in the enterprise and also at the work site. It outlines an enterprise safety management system that integrates safety into overall enterprise management. Guidance for individual operations is presented in the sequence of: work organization, personnel and equipment, and operation.

The code foresees training and mandatory skill certification as key requisites for safety in forestry. It spells out general requirements for the workforce in terms of employment conditions and qualifications, shelter, camp facilities and nutrition. It summarizes the requirements for tools, machines and hazardous chemicals, as well as for clothing and personal protective equipment, including the testing and certification of equipment. It offers detailed technical guidance on forest harvesting and some high-risk operations such as tree climbing, harvesting of windfall and forest fire fighting, which are intended mainly to help countries and companies that have no forestry-specific regulations.

The code is available in English, French and Spanish, and an accompanying information and training package is planned.

A look at the biological and cultural diversity in one of the world's great forest zones

The Congo Basin: human and natural resources. C. Besselink and P. Sips, ed. 1988. Amsterdam the Netherlands, IUCN. 214pp.

The Congo Basin: le bassin du Congo

The Congo Basin encompasses a very large region of Central Africa, an area with more or less continuous forest cover and rich in biodiversity. Apart from the considerable problems for people and nature caused by the current political instability, factors such as timber exploitation, forest fires, plantations, hunting, population growth and mining all contribute greatly to deforestation and loss of biodiversity in the area. Moreover, the environment of forest peoples is heavily affected.

In a series of articles written by various authors with experience in the region, this book describes the biological and cultural diversity of the region and the threats it is currently facing. Local, national and international initiatives aimed at the protection, sustainable use and management of the Congo Basin are also analysed.

The articles, some from authors in the region, are printed in English or French, with a summary in both languages. An introduction, by Assitou Ndinga (Regional Coordinator for IUCN), and an article on the Brazzaville process are included in both languages. The articles are organized under the following chapter themes:

· Biogeography: Biological diversity of the Congo Basin; The fora of the Congo Basin; A brief overview of the herpetofauna of the Congo Basin; The Kakamega forest: the eastern most representative of the Central African rainforest biome;

· Peoples of the Congo Basin: Forest peoples of the Congo Basin: past exploitation, present threats and future prospects; Forest peoples in the Central African rainforest: focus on the Pygmies; Initiatives to assist the Pygmies in Cameroon: A local NGO's point of view;

· Threats: Perception de la forêt et conflicts au Sud-Cameroun; Urban threats to biodiversity in the Congo Basin; The situation of tropical moist forests and forest management in Central Africa and markets for African timber; About tropical hardwood, hunters and gorillas; Conservation of forest fauna in South Cameroon; The forest series; Projet Pipeline Tchad-Cameroun: une menace pour les écosystèmes et la biodiversité dans la forêt dense equatoriale; Out of Africa: mining in the Congo Basin; Impact de la crise economique et de la devaluation du franc CFA sur la conservation des ressources forestières du bassin du Congo: cas du Cameroun;

· Initiatives: Regional collaboration for conservation and sustainable use of the forest resources of the central African region; NGOs in Central Africa, some characteristics from a European perspective;

· Community Forestry: a new experience in the Congo Basin; Gestion durable et participative des ressources forestières de la République Démocratique du Congo; The role of the European Community in the rainforest of Central Africa; Gabon: conservation during the crisis.

A seminal study on the role of common property as a system of governance

Managing forests as common property. By J.E.M. Arnold. 1998. FAO Forestry Paper No. 136. Rome, FAO.

Historically, substantial parts of the forest resources in many regions of the world have been managed as common property, during which time, in order to prevent their overuse, they were subject to some form of local control by those who used them. Now, both those resources and common property systems face increasing pressures from growing populations and changing political and economic environments nearly everywhere.

In some cases, common property systems have been legislated out of existence; in others, the local management mechanisms have weakened or gradually disappeared as communities have evolved and changed. Nevertheless, communal management has remained an important strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of a large part of the world's forests. Land use practices that incorporate periods of forest or bush fallow, or that require access to off-farm forest or woodland resources continue to be critical to the functioning of many rural economic systems. Local control is also very relevant to current moves to reduce the size and cost of government by decentralizing and devolving responsibilities and activities and by increasing the degree of involvement and participation of local stakeholders.

Understanding the opportunities and constraints of common property management systems has become both crucial and urgent so that both local and non-local interests may be enabled to obtain goods and services without compromising long-term resource and development goals.

This seminal study brings together available information about the role of common property as a system of governance and its current relevance to forest management and use. A review of indigenous common property systems that have disappeared or survived, together with an examination of the experiences of selected contemporary collective management programmes in different countries, reveals the main factors that appear to determine success or failure. The study explores broad factors such as policies, population pressures and suitable economic environments, local organizational factors and motivation to manage in relation to the available resource, and institutional factors at the government and donor level. The final chapter of the study summarizes implications for policy, research and practice.

Increasing and documenting the knowledge of current marketing practices of indigenous medicines

Marketing of indigenous medicinal plants in South Africa: a case study in KwaZulu-Natal. 1998. Rome, FAO. 162pp.

The current demand for numerous popular plant species used for indigenous medicines exceeds supply. To date, several such species, including wild ginger and the pepper-bark tree, have become extinct outside protected areas in KwaZulu-Natal. The declining supply of indigenous medicinal plants is likely to generate significant economic and welfare losses, considering that there are some 27 million indigenous medicine consumers in South Africa and a large supporting industry. There will also be additional losses, as potential income-generating opportunities associated with growing local and international demand are not realized. Furthermore, with more than 700 plant species actively traded in South Africa, intensive harvesting of wild stocks poses a serious threat to biodiversity in the region.

Given the lack of response both to recommendations that medicinal plants be cultivated and to increases in market prices, it became clear that there was insufficient understanding of the economics of indigenous plant production and its associated markets. This lack of information prevented individuals, organizations and government bodies from assessing opportunities for the cultivation of indigenous medicinal plants for the market. A research project was initiated to investigate the economic feasibility of cultivating high-value medicinal plants for local markets, with a focus on the cultivation potential, production costs and marketing. This report covers the marketing aspect of the research project, and describes the demand, supply, current marketing practices, potential and limitations within the medicinal plant market, and makes recommendations for a wide range of decision-makers.

The case study had a spatial focus on the KwaZulu-Natal Province, an area of active plant harvesting, trade and consumption; and specifically on Durban (a city of 4 million people), the hub of the region's plant trade. The report also makes some reference to other provinces in South Africa that have an active trade in indigenous medicines. It examines demand and supply potential, analyses main marketing factors and institutional and infrastructural support to marketing, and concludes with a series of recommendations.

A comprehensive look at the future of forests in Asia and the Pacific

Asia-Pacific Forestry Towards 2010: Report of the Asia-Pacific Forestry. Sector Outlook Study. 1988. Rome, FAO. 242pp.

Asia-Pacific Forestry Towards 2010: Report of the Asia-Pacific Forestry. Sector Outlook Study.

This report presents the results of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study on the status, trends and prospects for the sector to the year 2010. The study analysed the forestry sector in the context of the broader macroeconomic and social environment, paying due attention to relationships with closely linked sectors such as agriculture and energy, and to parameters such as substitution and price development.

The study takes a holistic view of the forestry sector, examining the supply and demand dynamics for the full range of the services and products (both wood and non-wood) produced in the region's forests within broad social, environmental and economic contexts. Eight broad factors are predicted to be important in determining the future of forestry in the region.

· Demand for the broad range of products and services currently supplied by forests will continue to increase.

· Physical and regulatory constraints on forest resource use will continue to increase.

· Pressures for sustainable management (and other environment-oriented policies) will continue to gather force.

· Increased attention will be paid to the multiple roles performed by forests and to forest ecosystem management efforts.

· Forest products trade will continue to be an important element in the forestry sector.

· Globalization and regionalization will increasingly impact on the forestry sector.

· Demands for social equity will continue and increase.

· New roles and opportunities will emerge for all forest sector stakeholders.

A central theme of the study is that the future will be determined by how various tensions and conflicts among economic, social and environmental dimensions of forests are resolved. In broad terms, however, the central driving forces for change in the Asia and Pacific region will be socio-economic: population growth and increasing prosperity will lead to greater demand for industrial wood products and woodfuels, and increase pressures to convert forestland into agricultural or urban areas. Conversely, increasing prosperity will ensure that the less tangible roles of forests become more appreciated and valued (e.g. protective functions, cultural and aesthetic values). The implicit costs of the physical uses of forests (e.g. for energy and industrial timber purposes) are also likely to receive greater attention.

Most of the direct causes of deforestation are largely driven by policies outside the forestry sector. Managers of the sector can, however, enforce laws more actively, promote corrective actions through afforestation and reforestation, encourage responsible stewardship, and demonstrate the relative importance of forests compared with alternative land uses. The policy choices that will most effectively control deforestation are related to increasing agricultural productivity, creating employment and alternative income-generating opportunities, and raising prosperity in general so that direct dependency on natural resources is reduced.

It is hoped that this publication will generate discussion of these issues in Asia and the Pacific as well as in other regions.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page