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Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

88 G. Oviedo timber,

88 G. Oviedo timber, ended up discouraging tree planting and therefore slowing down or totally stopping reforestation of degraded lands owned by villagers. The conclusion here is that, at least in the case of China, regulations to protect forests by restricting tree owners’ rights to trees and timber in fact removed incentives for tree planting and therefore for reforestation and restoration. Successful forest restoration depends on incentives for tree owners to use the trees when they are mature, and for forest owners to use also other forest products and services; it thus depends on the clarity, extent, and enforceability of user and owner rights over trees and forest products, where timber use seems to play a major role. But, if forest ownership rights are insufficient or even ineffective for successful restoration when not combined with user rights on trees and products, total lack of regulations on the use of timber and forest products can create perverse market incentives, especially when the conditions of clarity and enforceability of rights are not present in other adjacent forest areas. In such conditions, perverse market incentives discourage owners and users from tree planting, as the pressures from unregulated markets where competition exists from unsustainably managed forest areas (for example, areas subject to illegal timber extraction) would make it impossible for forest owners to meet the opportunity costs of tree planting and forest restoration. 2.2. Forest Rights in Ethnic Groups of Thailand and Vietnam “The concept of individual rights to planted trees on agricultural fields applies to virtually all ethnic minority groups in the uplands of northern Thailand and Vietnam,” 121 but there are considerable differences in gender-specific rights to plant trees due to distinct inheritance laws. “In strictly patrilineal societies like the Hmong, women are not allowed to inherit land. Thus, tree planting by women is usually limited to the area 121 Neef and Schwarzmeier, 2001, p. 22. around the houses. ...In contrast to the Hmong, the Black Thai and Tay societies have strong matrilineal elements.Although land inheritance of women is not common, there are a few exceptions giving women fully individual use rights, including the rights to plant trees. ...Marketing of forest products such as bamboo shoots, medicinal plants and fuelwood is mainly done by women. Despite the strong involvement of women in collection and marketing of products from the forests, they do not play a role in setting management rules.” 121a 2.3. Strengthening User Rights for Forest Restoration in Northeast Highlands of Ethiopia 122 The Meket district in the North Wollo administrative zone of Ethiopia ranges in altitude from 2000 to 3400m above sea level and has a mix of agroclimatic zones. Its inhabitants are almost wholly dependent on agriculture. As rising numbers of people have put more pressure on the land, fallow periods have shortened, and continuous ploughing has become commonplace. Local people say that within a generation, there has been dramatic deforestation, and the grazing has declined in both quantity and quality. Expanding cultivation and increasing demand for wood have left even the steepest slopes unprotected. Only about 8 percent of the total area remains under forest. Much of the rainfall is lost through runoff, causing severe soil erosion and floods. Indigenous trees are not commonly allowed to regenerate (except on some church lands), and efforts to plant trees have had little impact. The Ethiopian people have had negative experiences of land reallocation over the last 20 years, and are hence unwilling to invest effort in reforestation or regeneration activities. Different types of forest ownership (individual, church, service cooperative, and community) can be found in the district, but none has reversed the natural resource depletion. Weak land-tenure and user rights were clearly hindering effective community-led environmental conservation in Meket. 121a Neef and Schwarzmeier, 2001. 122 International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, 2000.

In mid-1996, SOS Sahel, an international nongovernmental organisation (NGO), began working with local authorities and agriculture ministry staff to seek a way to work with communities and solve these problems. Central to these was the establishment of official user rights for villagers. In the community reforestation project, communities were allowed to define their own objectives for their sites, but long-term plans (5 to 10 years, or more if indigenous trees were established) were required. Within communities, reforestation groups were established, and each group decided how to share the benefits among its members, and this had to be included in the management plan. Similarly, each village developed its own strategy for guarding the site. The proposed plan was then presented for approval at the kebele (subdistrict) level by relevant bodies: community representatives, subdistrict officials, and church leaders. It was then submitted to district officials and the agriculture office. If the plan was approved, official user rights were given to the group for their site. As a result of this approach, farmers’ participation in reforestation efforts increased. At first, 14 villages received official user rights; 20 more communities have since become involved, directly benefiting more than 2000 households. Natural regeneration of indigenous grass, shrub, and tree species has been dramatic. There are very clear differences when compared with unprotected sites. Sufficient short-term benefits have been realised—such as improved forage and increased production of thatching grass—to motivate communities to strengthen and expand their enclosure sites. More secure user rights have created confidence among the communities. They have expressed strong interest to plant indigenous species (e.g., Hagenia abyssinica, Juniperus procera, Olea africana) instead of eucalyptus. Communities have started to expand their sites, and new communities want to establish their own enclosures. Some are seeking compensation from the subdistrict administration for individual farmers who are cultivating land 12. Land Ownership and Forest Restoration 89 within the future enclosures. Some villages have even begun a similar process without outside intervention or support. Farmers seem to have accepted the introduction of cut-and-carry fodder systems. This may prove to be one of the most significant impacts for the Ethiopian highlands. 2.4. Limited Success in the Protection Forest Walomerah, Indonesia 123 The province of East Nusa Tenggara consists of the main island of Flores, Sumba, the Western part of Timor and a number of smaller islands. In 1992 the population of the province totalled 3.3 million. With an average rainfall ranging from 2196mm in Manggarai district to 805mm in Alor district and not so fertile soils, the conditions for agriculture are not very favourable. About 36 percent of the land area of the island of Flores has by ministerial decree been classified as forest land and one third of this forest land as Protection Forests. The largest part of this has in reality little or no tree cover and has for generations been tilled by the population living there. The protection forest of the mountain Walomerah in Ngada district is one such area. As part of the Presidential Instruction Programme (INPRES) for the development of Indonesia, this particular protection forest was to be reforested. The project, which began in 1995, was to start with the reforestation of 500 hectares, including part of the village Wangka, which covers 9000 hectares. Almost all of the 2400 inhabitants secure their livelihoods from subsistence farming, as their ancestors have done for generations. They are totally dependent on the land. Their traditional rights to land had been recognised by the government, but all 9000 hectares of this village lie within the protection forest. According to the legislation applying to such areas, the villagers were not allowed to occupy this area on a permanent basis. 123 Vochten and Mulyana, 1995.

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