|Commercialization of Non-Timber Forest Products in Amazonia (NRI, 1993)|
In view of the discussion above it can be argued that much more attention should be given to agroforestry approaches based on swidden management systems, to secondary forest management, to sustained yield management for timber, and in particular to the integration of these and extractivism in the development of multiple product forest management systems.
In order to do this in any location, it is essential to conduct socio-economic research on existing activities to see how new approaches can be integrated into existing livelihood systems. There is also an urgent need for data on the relative returns to labour and, on land requirements, and market viability of the new approaches.
Cleary (1992) argues that this type of work can best be achieved by supporting regional research capacity, especially that found in local universities. The PESACRE project, in which a network of social and natural scientists from a mixture of state, university and non-government organizations (NGOs) are working to a common research and policy agenda, provides an interesting basis for this kind of research and could be replicable in other areas (Schmink, 1991). The network approach increases the complementarily of research efforts and avoids duplication.
Other research and development priorities are listed below.
1. Strengthening the institutional basis of extractive reserves. This will involve institution building and increased resources for both state and NGOs involved in the development of extractive reserves.
2. Development of co-operative processing and marketing structures on extractive reserves. This should include micro-economic research on marketing chains and margins for the main extractive products, in order to plan appropriate levels of vertical integration and interventions in the marketing process.
3. Research on the economic and social impacts of alternative marketing arrangements (Cultural Survival, Body Shop, etc.) on direct beneficiaries, other extractive groups, supply continuity and overall market dynamics.
4. The development of market information systems to increase market transparency, increase competition, inform producer groups of market possibilities, and establish more direct links with northern entrepreneurs.
5. Development of a consumer education campaign to increase the
green demand for sustainably harvested
extractive products, and encourage importers to use brand names to identify sources.
6. Research to normalize the often chaotic land tenure situation of extractive populations. In particular May (1990b) calls for research to help define and protect usufruct or access rights based on tenurial arrangements.
7. Research to develop sustainable harvesting techniques, especially for the palms, and diffusion of recently introduced technologies for sustainably harvesting sorva latex and copaiba oil.
8. Research into processing potential for domestic markets. For example Clay (1992) believes there is a large untapped potential for essential oil processing in Para State.
9. Research into the demand and supply problems of Brazil nut extraction in order to consider whether and how current problems can best be confronted.
10. Finally any research and development of NTFPs should be based on the following criteria to maximize conservation and welfare impacts:
(a) terra firme trees or plants with both subsistence and cash
uses, that benefit a large number of people;
(b) products with an established domestic market;
(c) products least likely to be substituted;
(d) trees or shrubs which can be incorporated in agroforestry and swidden management systems;
(e) research into alternative sources of high value low volume extractive products where traditional sources are experiencing depletion, e.g. rosewood oil.
Babaçu would appear to have a high priority according to most of these criteria, although its main product can easily be substituted.