Forestry research: commitment and continuity
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Sall, Ndiengou. 1994. Forestry research: commitment and continuity. Spore 54. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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As this is a difficult period for countries throughout the world, the developing countries must implement survival strategies and at the same time endeavour to safeguard natural resources. In view of the current difficulties it is not easy to make a...
As this is a difficult period for countries throughout the world, the developing countries must implement survival strategies and at the same time endeavour to safeguard natural resources. In view of the current difficulties it is not easy to make a choice. In some areas the situation is such that more money is spent on fuel than on food. There is hardly any alternative to cutting down trees and destroying the forests if the people wish to survive. If this situation were to continue, the next generations would without doubt have an environment without a future. The stakes are high The rational conservation and use of the forests and their resources is now an integral part of agricultural or global policies. The fact that regular meetings are held to establish a concerted policy against desertification and the protection of nature indicates just how high the stakes are and the determination demanded by the situation. The fact that there is to be an international convention on desertification and other post-Rio initiatives confirms the concern. However, forestry research organizations in many of the developing countries may find it difficult to respond to the demands made of them and to make forestry play the role which it should naturally have in the quest for long term socioeconomic development. Research arrived at resolving the essential problems associated with trees and forestry deserves constant commitment, backing and effort in view of the many important roles played by trees. Continuity of funding Unfortunately, in view of the lack of long-term commitment and the consequent lack of continuity in funding, forestry research is not in a position to contribute fully to development. Funds allocated to forestry research in Africa are generally very limited. The assistance of the decision-makers must be enlisted to grant additional funds to the forestry sector and at the same time to ensure that research has a little more funding. There should be some adjustment in favour of research since development projects, the principal users of the results of trials, must have access to research. It is not easy for those who understand the significance of forestry research in the developing countries to accept that under 0.26% of the value of forestry production is allocated to research. If all available means have to be used to find funds to complete a trial using plant material which has been given up because funding has been interrupted, the strain on research workers is considerable. This is the real world of the earnest worker for whom continuity is vital since the least pause or interruption will result in the work no longer being reliable. In order to ensure independence and the regular funding of research work, it appears that it is essential to have specific funds, provided by development projects and partly by taxes paid by those who exploit the forests and/or a significant contribution from the national forestry funds. United we stand... Every country can set up structures to suit its resources and its forestry policy. However, it is now essential to translate the desire for integration expressed by the decision-makers and politicians into action. Forestry research structures in developing countries appear very fragmented as there is no concentration of manpower, funds and logistic resources. Resources must be concentrated to produce structures which will be viable in the long term and employ effective teams of workers. The indications are therefore that workers engaged on specific subjects should be formed into groups. Programmes, operations or individual research work of any description, such as the genetic improvement of Faidherbia (Acacia) albida, must not be dealt with individually by each country engaged in this work. Furthermore, it is not logical for each country to have its own in vitro culture research unit for woody species. It is to be hoped that the programme to support forestry research in Asia and the Pacific can be enhanced and adapted to serve as a model for Africa south of the Sahara. To provide satisfactory results forestry research needs quality infrastructures. Perseverance is essential and there must be agreement over which work is to be given priority.
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