Forestry for farmers
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CTA. 2002. Forestry for farmers. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57160
A forestry advisor for the Co-operative League of the United States describes a programme to build co-operation between the forestry services and local communities in eastern Zambia. The programme has involved stakeholder workshops to write management plans, and support for more productive agriculture.
Forestry for farmers CUE: In Zambia, many forest areas have been managed by the state Forestry Department for as much as forty or fifty years, yet during this time they have never had proper management plans. As a result, forestry officers have not had clear guidelines for how the natural resources of the forest are to be exploited. How many poles can be removed? How much timber for construction? How much bark for making rope? There have also been no plans to guide how much forest land should be cleared for farming. Cecilia Polansky is a Forest Advisor for the Co-operative League of the United States, an organisation which is supporting community-based natural resources management in Zambia?s Eastern Province. She has been working to improve co-operation between the government Forestry Department and the local communities, so that together they can write plans for how the forest can be managed for the long-term future. Chris Kakunta asked Cecilia about the project, and what it has achieved so far. IN: ?Well so far we started? OUT: ? cash into their households.? DUR?N 4?49? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Cecilia Polansky, summarising the importance of community forest management . Transcript Polansky Well so far we started in 1999, in Chiulukire local forest. That?s a forest that has got almost 11,000 hectares in it. And at that time when we started we did some village interviews of all these villagers that live around the forest, and there are over 70 new villages that were not in existence at the time when the forest was set up. So now the Forestry Department does not have enough time to do patrols everywhere in that forest, or to properly manage the forest. So we did interviews, to find out people?s interest in managing those resources within that forest. Kakunta So how are the communities being involved in managing this forest? Polansky Well, after those interviews in 1999, we developed a strategy of bringing some of the representatives of those communities, together in workshops, to talk about the products they get from that forest, and to write actual chapters for a management plan for that forest. So the people gave us very good ideas about the rates of use of those products, and the best ways to regenerate specific trees which are used for specific products, and we incorporated some scientific information from research in miombo ecology that has already been done, with the community?s knowledge about the same products, and how they regenerate, how much they need to use, and how much income they get from all those products in their areas. So we incorporated those into one management plan that contains one chapter for each user group, and also chapters on administrative aspects so that Forest Department can join in the book-keeping and some of the legal aspects, and the traditional hierarchy is also involved as important in announcing policies that relate to forest ecology. Kakunta So would you be able to say that, in as far as sustainable forest management is concerned, your programme has had a great impact in achieving your objectives? Polansky Well we like to think it has had an impact, but it is a bit early. The thing about forest management is it is very long term, and although we managed to write a very good plan for miombo forest in two years, now the implementation will also take time to measure the actual impact on the environment and on people?s attitudes towards protecting their forests better. Kakunta So, in a nutshell, what would be some of the lessons you have learned in terms of protecting the forest? Polansky We realised very soon that we need to address the problem of agriculture along with the problem of forest management. Because the main destruction of the forest right now does seem to be people cultivating inside the boundaries of government-managed and controlled forest. Kakunta So are there alternative measures that you are putting, so as to enable these communities not to go into the forest, as far as agriculture is concerned? Polansky Yes, well the main push at the beginning of the project, in the first three years, was to do extension work in conservation farming, to raise yields per hectare of crops, and as a side line, there has also been value-adding to agricultural crops. And the objective is to raise incomes enough for farmers around these forests so that they don?t need to look for so much alternative land, and new land to cultivate, but also to raise their yield per hectare, and that way they also don?t need so many hectares to cultivate for their families. Kakunta Is there anything that you would like to put across, in as far as sustainable natural resources management, in particular forests, is concerned? Polansky Well from the government side, I know the government needs to reaffirm its commitment to maintaining the forests that they have already, and the key to doing that is going to be involving communities surrounding those forests. And on the community side, they need to also realise that if they are too selfish about their own families? needs, and are not interesting in improving their yields per hectare, then we will have a problem with deforestation, that will make it so that eventually, they won?t even be able to get medicines out of the forest, or those economic resources that both women and men depend on to bring cash into their households. End of track.