Stakeholder conflicts and forest decentralization policies in West Kalimantan: their dynamics and implications for future forestPosted on: 15 July 2008 - 3:57pm
Stakeholder conflicts in relation to forest decentralization policies were studied in West Kalimantan, Indonesia to determine: 1) how these policies were understood by local stakeholders 2) how they were implemented 3) and their impacts in terms of forest management and conflicts.
A case study using qualitative methodologies i.e. semi-structured interviews, field observations and workshops, was made. The results show that the implementation of decentralization policies gave rise to conflicts between local and central government as well as among local stakeholders. Despite the goal of benefiting local stakeholders by decentralizing forest management, the central government’s subsequent withdrawal of much of the local governments’ authority to manage forestry raises new questions on whether the central government is indeed willing to share power. The authors concluded that central and local governments and relevant stakeholders need to develop better communication and negotiation procedures to address current conflicts appropriately.
That forest people intimately depend on forests for their livelihoods is widely accepted and, so it is predicted, the rapid pace of deforestation in the humid tropics will soon lead them into utter destitution or, worse, drive them into cities. Socio-economic studies recently carried out among Punan hunter-gatherers in East Kalimantan (Indonesia) somehow contradict this general belief. In remote upstream villages, where natural resources are still plentiful, families barely survive throughout the year, have very reduced monetary income, no access to education and a very high infant mortality rate. In downstream villages, where forest resources are vanishing, families have access to more cash earning opportunities, they enjoy better education and very low infant mortality. From a strict economic point of view, there is a consensus among all Punan: downstream people are generally better off; but when it comes to well-being... opinions diverge.
International concern about illegal forestry activities has grown markedly. Asian, African, and European governments have held high-level regional conferences on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG). Indonesia has signed path-breaking Memoranda of Understanding on illegal logging with the United Kingdom, China, and Norway. The Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Forum on Forests, the International Tropical Timber Organisation, and the G8 have all issued forceful statements, and incorporated the issue in their work plans. The European Commission has committed itself to formulating a European FLEG Action Plan. Japan and Indonesia have initiated an Asian Forest Partnership, with a major focus on illegal logging. Global Witness, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Transparency International, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch, and Friends of the Earth have raised public awareness about the problem.
This study analyzes present-day and historical demographic, socioeconomic, and cultural changes in traditional native groups and in their environment, which have led to a growing loss of ethnic and ecological diversity in the main tropical rainforests of Latin America.
Traditionally, controlled slash and burn farming and the existence of vast forested areas with a wide array of native species have guaranteed the sustainable use of natural resources. This subsistence system is based on beliefs, rituals, and values that condition access to resources by members of the group and their use of them. Native cultural elements such as collective ownership and kinship, the tradition of sharing and limiting the accumulation of individual goods, and the independence of a native group must be kept in mind when attempting to link native production activities to the market economy.
Where are the forests in the MDGs? When players in the forestry world get together they are good at setting goals. They are a good match for the political leaders that gave us the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since the 1980s there has been a proliferation of international dialogues dealing with forests and, a bit like the football World Cup, every four years or so they come up with a feast of goals. If forestry goals were all that was needed to make progress, then sustainable and pro-poor forestry would have long since become a worldwide reality. Of course, implementation still lags well behind aspiration, but at least there is now a considerable body of international knowledge and agreement on how forests can contribute to development.
Small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) provide an opportunity to reduce poverty and sustain forests. But they face a number of critical bottlenecks to their development. Working together in associations can overcome such bottlenecks where few other support structures exist. There are literally thousands of forest-linked small and medium enterprise associations in developing countries. Some fail, but many succeed.
Successful associations are the means to achieve three important development "ends":
• Reducing transaction costs
• Adapting strategically to new opportunities
• Lobbying for more supportive policies
This paper draws out some lessons on how and why associations work. The research found that lasting associations generally have a strong degree of autonomy. They usually have leaders with a track-record of social commitment. Most have gradually evolving sets of procedures that institutionalize the progress made by charismatic founders. Their focus is usually restricted to a few long-term issues. Equity is highest where there is greatest investment in democracy. Equitable associations tend to pay attention to transparency over costs and benefits. Most also have in place sanctions for free riders or those who break their rules, and clear procedures for resolving conflicts.
Yunnan is one of China's poorest and least urbanized provinces, with 73 of its 129 counties below the poverty line. With the largest total area of collectively-owned forest among China's 31 provinces, forestry development continues to play an important role in Yunnan's rural economic development.
This report assesses the competitive challenges that small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) face in response to China's huge rural to urban demographic transition, growth in trade and increasing environmental concerns. It describes the evolution of some of the emerging associations that will help SMFEs cope, such as the Yunnan Provincial Forest Products Industry Association. The reorientation of this association into a more independent industry body could provide a new model for SMFE coordination around Kunming. But in less industrial areas of Yunnan, the development of SMFE associations is likely to require greater catalytic support at the village level.
This paper aims to accomplish two tasks: One, it presents a framework to help analyze the devolution of the use, management, and governance of resources. It does so by bringing together several strands of work on institutional analysis and property rights, and building on theories of collective action. These writings are highly relevant to the understanding of governance and devolution, but their relationship to devolution and governance requires closer examination than it has previously received.
Two, the paper provides empirical evidence from two cases on devolution of forest use from India and Nepal to illustrate and examine the offered framework. The devolution of forest use in Kumaon in India and efforts to involve local population in the management of protected areas in the Terai of Nepal form the two contrasting studies of the origins and implementation of devolution.
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Deforestation and forest degradation trends of previous decades in Latin America remain unchanged despite international concern and new paradigms such as sustainable development. Social inequities and associated poverty can still be considered the main causes of forest losses, compounded by colonization accepted by governments as part of geo-politics and new economic growth policies--favoring exploitation of natural forests by both the rich and the poor.
Natural forests are not being managed, except to some extent as protected areas and, under current social and economic conditions, sustainable management of natural forests may not be profitable. The main opportunity to conserve natural forests may be in the recognition of and payment for the environmental services they provide, and in the production of highly priced "certified green" goods that would make sustainable forest management profitable. However, this solution requires serious world negotiation. Meanwhile, compensatory measures such as the establishment and better management of strictly protected areas are the best tools to delay the loss of ecosystems and species. Also useful are reforestation, agroforestry, restoration of degraded forests and ecotourism.
Community forestry is an evolving concept, which has persisted in natural resource management programming over almost thirty years. Its persistence lies fundamentally in its value as a concept and set of approaches for development that have evolved as understanding has grown about the complex reality of forests, farmers, foresters and their respective sustainability and livelihood concerns.
The authors see community forestry as being present in two distinct aspects in most countries in Asia, looking in particular at the policy context:
• A recognition of the rights of rural communities living adjacent to forests to extract resources and manage forests for their basic livelihood needs. A complementary recognition that indigenous management institutions exist and that there is significant local knowledge about the management of trees and forests.
• A recognition of the classical role of foresters in the protection and management of the national forest estate, that this has needed to change, from foresters as being agents of enforcement and protection to their new role as advisers and extensionists.
It is now clear that community forestry, in all its various guises, has much to offer, although there is also room for improvement. A recent analysis has shown that while community forestry has been able to provide significant benefits to communities in many countries, it has not been able to scale-up the localized benefits to the poorest of poor people. There is, however, a large potential for community forestry to deliver poverty-related outcomes, to scale-up approaches for the poorest and therefore a broad scope for community forestry to contribute to the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
This paper presents the current status of community forestry and analyze some of the current issues affecting community forestry policy and forest land use in Asia.