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close this bookObstacles to Tree Planting in Arid and Semi-Arid lands: Comparative Case Studies from India and Kenya (UNU, 1982, 63 p.)
close this folder4. India and Kenya: Comparisons and contrasts
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View the documentEnvironmental and technical factors
View the documentInstitutional factors
View the documentSocial and economic factors

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 appreciated.

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 lands.