Where's the forestry in community forestry?

Where's the forestry in community forestry?

Has the knowledge and science of forestry been lost in the effort to reform institutional management of forest resources?

This paper argues that the modern form of community forestry has focused mainly on what might be called forest organization in the context of forest management and that, as such, the technical aspects of forestry, especially the scientific element, have been marginalized. It examines some of the historical reasons why the technical aspects of forest management and indigenous technical knowledge have been marginalized in community forestry and calls on foresters to look back to join with local communities to develop silvicultural and forest management systems more appropriate for natural forests under community management.

The author identifies the key goal as enhancing productivity through better silviculture in order to secure and sustain local support for forest management. To help achieve this a number of priority actions are identified:

  • to document local practices of vegetation manipulation in the natural forest as the starting point for any development assistance effort.
  • to give greater support to projects where foresters are learning with farmers methods by which to revitalize over exploited forests
  • to recognize the true role of farmers as de facto foresters, and to make the farmer a full partner in forest management and development.
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