Social and economic factors
Given appropriately trained and motivated staff and optimum species and
management methods, the remaining constraints to successful tree planting are
common to both countries. They concern mainly land ownership and use patterns
and type of economy.
With tree crops there is an appreciable delay between time of planting (which
is itself an expensive operation) and time of harvesting (in which the yield
usually has a low value per unit of volume). For communities and individuals on
a subsistence level or on a non-monetarized economy it is difficult to find the
resources to establish tree crops, and Government support is initially required.
Further, in view of the long rotation of trees, throughout which protection
against fire and animals is required, security of tenure of land is essential.
It thus becomes imperative to develop community awareness of the benefits of
trees so that communally owned land may be set aside for managed tree crops.
It is characteristic of the ASAL in most countries that, as we proceed from
more to less arid zones, land tenure and use change from communal land with
nomadism to individual tenure with sedentary agriculture. The actions needed to
encourage tree planting vary similarly from the village community plantation on
communal land to the individual farmer's planting of single trees or rows on his
land boundary. Different credit and technical facilities are needed, and these
are well demonstrated in Gujarat in India. Further, the Gujarat experience also
demonstrates the need to use the "package" approach to wood growth and
use with the introduction of trees, management, and efficient woodburning
facilities (see also Draper 1977). Above all it illustrates the importance of
involving the people in forestry activity through demonstration of the technical
feasibility. Where business acumen exists the financial feasibility is readily
However, there is no easy solution for those areas in which nomadic
pastoralism occurs. No individuals and few communities would consider planting a
long-term crop on land for which they feel no immediate responsibility and to
which they may not return for long periods. They do not appreciate the service
values of trees in soil and water protection, and Yet their excessive herds
cause damage that trees could help to repair. An integrated approach to land use
and development is needed in such areas with estimates of the carrying capacity
of land and education in the concepts of limiting herd size.
Sedenterization is not necessarily the optimum policy, and systems may need
to be developed to permit combinations of different life-styles (see, e.g.,
Maydell 1979), but, where it is desirable, trees can play an important part in
developing a monetarized economy and in contributing to marketing and transport
infrastructures, as well as in fulfilling protective functions.
Recognizing these various factors India has for many years attempted to
develop rural community forestry, with more success in some areas and states
than others. The successful programmes can act as an excellent guide to similar
development in Kenya where, to date, plantation forestry has been concentrated
almost exclusively on the high potential sites outsides the arid and semi-arid