Towards Forest Sustainability

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International Maritime Organization. Martin T 20 Apr The Paris Agreement opened for signature by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on 22 April and will remain open for signature for one year. Did your country sign on the first day? Find out here. Read [ Vesna Blazhevska T 21 Sep Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss. Forests, desertification and biodiversity Martin T Why it matters: Life on Land. Infographic: Life on Land. Facts and figures Goal 15 targets Links.


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Facts and figures. Forests Around 1. Forests are home to more than 80 per cent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Between and , the world lost 3. Poor rural women depend on common pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion. Desertification 2. Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate Due to drought and desertification, 12 million hectares are lost each year 23 hectares per minute. Within one year, 20 million tons of grain could have been grown. Biodiversity Illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continues to thwart conservation efforts, with nearly 7, species of animals and plants reported in illegal trade involving countries.

Towards Forest Sustainability

Of the 8, animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction. Of the over 80, tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use. Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 per cent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production.

Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. This potential appears to be greater where the technical knowledge already exists at the local level and the missing ingredient is an effective agreement between the local organization and local representatives of the government Arnold, Two main impediments to progress have been identified the unwillingness of forest departments to devolve responsibility to the local level, and the inward migration of outsiders eager to take advantage of the changing local situation Seymour and Rutherford, The case for social analysis One way to improve the social impact of forestry activities is through the use of social analysis, designed to describe and analyse the real or potential effects of planned development interventions on specific population groups.

Social analysis - in its most practical form - is a methodology which provides guidelines for studying and identifying the social, economic and political factors that may affect or be affected by project activities as well as the people who are expected to benefit, particularly subgroups of the local population - men, women, indigenous groups, etc. On the basis of this information, analysts are expected to identify potential problems that may arise during project implementation and suggest ways in which they can be addressed.

Recently, we undertook an assessment of the literature on social analysis, interviews with those familiar with the technique and a review of the documents produced by rural development projects Gow et al. Although we found evidence to support the general belief that social analysis has contributed to the design and implementation of better rural development projects, our report also made a number of broad criticisms.

First, we noted that social analysts were not being sufficiently critical and rigorous. A second criticism pinpointed the need for a much broader unit of analysis.

The Sustainable Development Goals need forests

Finally, there was a clear need for increasing emphasis on the decision-making process, with a focus on the dynamics of power and the process. Sustainable development means increasing the potential of rural people to influence and control than future on a long-term basis Social analysis for sustainable development The application of social analysis implies that development projects, whether in forestry or other sectors, also have social objectives some overall or specific improvement in human welfare and well-being.

Underlying this is a belief that sustainable development means increasing the potential of rural people to influence and control their future on a long term basis, a goal that can be achieved by strengthening capacity, supporting equity and fostering empowerment Gow, For social analysis to make a significant contribution to design and implementation at both programme and project levels within this broader context of sustainable development, a framework that is simple yet broad enough to capture the complexities and constraints that characterize development interventions is called for.

The emphasis should be on concerns involving the environment and the natural resource base, the political dimensions of donor-financed interventions and institutional implications - public and private, regional and local.

Further Publications

A key concern is the level of inquiry: the need to move beyond the local to the provincial, the national and, if necessary, the international level. While the analysis is grouped under three major components, social feasibility; institutions and organizations; and social and distributional impacts, the latter are most crucial for achieving some degree of social sustainability. Social feasibility analysis focuses on the extent to which planned interventions respond to local needs, conditions, potential and capabilities.

A project is socially feasible if it is sufficiently adapted to local conditions that people can see the advantages of making changes and modifying their practices to attain new benefits. This must be a two-way process during which both the project and the local people change Ingersoll, Key issues are land use, infrastructure, risk and uncertainty and potential implementation problems. The interests and needs of forest communities must be integrated into forestry development activities A case in point is the Agroforestry Outreach Project AOP in Haiti, which incorporated detailed social analysis in the design.

The project was based on the premise that farmer motivation is a function of the realistic expectation of a reasonable economic return in the relatively near term. The basic aim of the project has been to promote the planting and maintenance of substantial numbers of hardwood seedlings that are drought resistant and also good for charcoal and basic construction needs. These have been planted by individual farmers on their own land as an economically viable crop which they have the right to harvest in the same fashion as maize, millet, sugar cane and other crops Murray, By the end of , after eight years of implementation, the AOP had produced and distributed more than 50 million trees to peasants, 30 percent of whom were planting for the second time.

Some 40 percent of the trees survived out planting. In addition, the AOP carried out a comprehensive programme of soil conservation in which live vegetative barriers, litter terraces and gully plugs were promoted and monitored. Some I million m linear of hedgerows helped stabilize soil on the hillsides.

There were also demonstration gardens where soil conservation, agroforestry and intensive gardening techniques were applied on a pilot basis Gow, During this period, certain significant changes were made in response to changing local conditions and needs. Although payment of incentives to the farmers was envisaged in the original design, after the first year this payment was found to be unnecessary and was eliminated. A second major change was in the modest assumptions that had been made about peasant motivation for planting trees.

The project designers had assumed that the farmers would want to plant the trees primarily for charcoal production, but the analysis revealed that a primary motivation, for some, was to improve soil conditions. Others were using them as key elements in an effort to transform on-farm production: for example, deploying project trees to establish or re-establish coffee groves on land that might otherwise never have been put to this relatively sustainable use.


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Still others were using project trees as an alternative strategy for dealing with relative and absolute labour shortages within the production unit Conway, As a result, the project diversified its technical activities and also the species it made available to the farmers. One of the underlying social objectives of development projects should be to ensure a more equitable access to development resources.

Distribution of the ensuing benefits and the impact of project in this regard should also be analysed. Care must be taken to distinguish between the various groups indigenous people, settlers and migrants, the very poor and those outside the forest who are dependent on its resources, etc.

Project Details

For example, the Forest Protection Committees of West Bengal, India, provide specific villages with preferential rights to certain tracts of degraded forest. The user groups, often composed of both male and female villagers from tribal communities, take on more of the protection and control of harvesting in return for a substantially greater share of the eventual proceeds from the resource. Current sharing arrangements for major forest products are based on an equal division of benefits among members. However, initial sacrifices in the form of income lost in cash and kind are heaviest among disadvantaged groups.

The Forest Department has attempted to compensate by providing employment opportunities while the new production system matures. In addition, the multiple products from the regenerated forests are exploited on a continuing or seasonal basis by women Poffenberger, A decision to restrict access to non-timber forest resources such as food and fodder often has a direct negative impact on woman Social analysis should also specify which benefits are to be sustained once the external assistance ends.

This may include all the benefit flows or, more likely, certain specific benefits. Ways in which sustainability is to be achieved should be outlined and the analysis should include information on specific programme measures to provide the necessary economic and political security required for both individuals and institutions to pursue sustainability on their own.

The analysis should also identify the key constraints financial, institutional, economic, environmental, technical, political - to achieving this. During the design of the AOP's second phase, sustainability was a major issue. What could the project do in teens of working toward financial, technical and institutional sustainability?

During the design effort, it became apparent that farmer training and the institutionalization of local demand were the most relevant and important points, given the prevailing political situation in Haiti. In several regions, participants in the first stage of the AOP were already experimenting with the on-farm propagation of trees, but there was a large, unmet demand for seedlings by both new planters and repeaters.

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Why indigenous hunting is essential to forest sustainability

The continued stimulation of this demand for hardwood seed and seedlings and the development of a methodology to satisfy this demand would be the bottom line of sustainability within the project. A final word A superb social analysis, by itself, will change nothing. To ensure that recommendations are taken seriously and acted upon, the analyst must lobby continuously for the concepts being proposed.

The key is to ensure that decision-makers - be they local people, organizations, government officials or donor agency staff - adopt the ideas and recommendations proposed as their own and assume some "ownership" of them. This may well be the case anyway if the analyst has played the role of an honest broker, i. Bibliography Arnold, J. Policy issues related to the role of trees in rural income and welfare security. Conway, F. The decision-making framework for tree-planting in the Agroforestry Outreach Project.

What is sustainable forest management?

Orano, ME, University of Maine. Gow, D. Development anthropology: in quest of a practical vision. Network , 6 2 : National program for agroforestry in Haiti: project paper. National program for agroforestry in Haiti.

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