|Forestry Training Manual: Inter-America Region (Peace Corps, 1986)|
- To have forestry-issue group make presentations of forestry matters as assigned.
Trainee who has taken on forestry issues as a special project, manages the presentation. This is a very interesting section and time for questions is allowed after each group completes its presentation. Trainee/manager has been encouraged to have presentations carefully planned and presented creatively. Trainees turn in paper at end of session.
Exercise: Forest issues presentation
Forestry issue papers prepared by trainees.
Trainees have worked many long hours on their forestry issue papers. The amount of research will be evident not only in their written papers but in their presentations.
30 minutes per presentation & questions
1. Trainee who has assumed the role in managing forestry issue
papers presents schedule. The trainer may wish to have trainees respond to each
presentation; if so, the respondents should be prepared in advance.
Why Forest Issue Paper?
1. To study forestry issues related to the economy.
2. Issues chosen for study are pertinent to the economic aspects of forestry. A sample of these papers is attached for your use.
1. Forest Management,
2. Exotic Species vs. Indigenous Species,
3. Forestry and Community Development,
4. Industry and Jobs vs. Conservation,
5. Cost Analysis,
6. Need vs. Conservation,
7. Forest Products other than Wood,
9. What is Extension?
Helpful Public Speaking Hints
1. Speak slowly and clearly.
2. Always face your audience.
3. If you are reading, try to establish some eye contact. Try to read slowly and change the wording so it seems more like you are speaking "off the cuff."
4. Know your notes. Make sure that they are legible.
5. Do not put barriers between you and your audience, e.g., desk.
What is a cooperative? A cooperative is a group of people united in a free and voluntary manner for the purpose of lending services to themselves and the community. The group involved should have a common problem or bond that unites them. Service should be stressed as the main purpose, it should not a be a pro fit organization. The individual should not be the only one to benefit. The entire community benefits through the elevation of moral standards and business ethics brought about by an effective cooperative.
There are two basic aspects of a cooperative: economic and social.
the cooperative is organized with capital from its members, who
are responsible for its control and use.
the cooperative gives the people the opportunity to exercise their
rights while achieving progress.
Guidelines have been developed to explain exactly what a cooperative is. The following are 11 principles of the cooperative movement.
1. Cooperatives are self-help organizations. Cooperatives exist so that members can overcome their own weaknesses by joining others, to become strong through group actions. The member is responsible for certain self-help actions which increase the power of his/her organization. The members must he aware of their standing as co-owners.
2. Voluntary association: Members must be allowed to join and withdraw from cooperatives at their own free will.
3. Open Membership: Membership applications must not be based on the basis of artificial restrictions such as race, religion, sex, political affiliation or social status. It nay be limited under certain circumstances such as inability to serve unlimited members or limited to certain professions, inhabitants of certain regions, etc.
4. Political Neutrality: Cooperatives should not attempt to interfere with the political beliefs of their members. Cooperatives should try to remain independent from political parties and the government if at all possible.
5. Cooperatives must promote economic efficiency in their negotiations. Cooperatives are business enterprises which are formed to promote the economic advancement of their members. All transactions should be done on a cash basis.
6. Democratic Management & Control: Cooperatives are self-governing organizations run by their members. They operate on the principle of "one man-one vote." The members control the management of their own society.
7. Limited returns on share capital: If a cooperative pays any return on invested share capital, it should be on a limited basis to prevent potential members from purchasing large numbers of shares for speculative purposes.
8. Fair and Prudent Distribution of Economic Returns: Surplus funds should be divided on the basis of the amount of business that the individual has with the society.
9. Promotion of Member and Employee Education: The cooperative member must receive instructions so that he/she will he effective in the daily functions of his/her society. The employees must be trained so they can effectively fulfill their responsibilities.
10. Autonomy: The cooperative must he allowed to enjoy a relative degree of autonomy in its goal-setting and management.
11. Cooperation between Cooperatives: All cooperatives should cooperate with others. In this way, cooperatives will gain strength through associating with others who have similar economic activities.
It should be recognized that these principles are the ideal. Under different circumstances, these guidelines may not be met or may be altered in some respect.
There are several characteristics that a good cooperative possesses. These include a creative force based on individual responsibility and the ability to adapt itself to meet changing methods. There should be an educational system, which should be an economic force. Finally, it must instill the spirit of unselfishness and confidence in one's fellow man.
In working as an extension agent with cooperatives, one should consider several subjects:
The extension worker may benefit by looking at traditional forms of cooperation within the community or region. Possibly, these practices can be incorporated into a framework of action.
Secondly, when no local infrastructure exists for promotion and supervision of a cooperative, or when government officials are unwilling to back the idea; it will probably never yet off the ground and even fail once the volunteer has left. Keep the aims of the project realistic. Do not attempt radical changes in a short period of time.
And lastly, the essence of the extension worker's job in cooperatives is not his/her direct role in specific problem solving. The volunteer's role is to be a guide to cooperative members through problem solving and the utilization of local resources. stress self-help.
Once principles have been understood and accepted by a few people in the community, they can proceed to organize a successful cooperative.
The following information is a basic outline of how to go about setting up a cooperative. Included are some general guidelines for financing and legalizing a cooperative.
There are two main types of cooperatives: Consumers and Producers. Each is divided into four sub-groups.
1) Consumer stores: These offer members a better quality of goods at lower prices, and ensure the use of fair weights and measures.
2) Credit Unions: Capital is raised by the savings of the members who borrow from the union at low rates of interest. Control of credit remains in the hands of the people. Members acquire the habit of saving systematically.
3) Housing cooperatives: the solidarity of members usually provides sufficient collateral to obtain a loan to build houses for members. Also through mutual aid and self-help methods, members can greatly reduce construction costs.
4) General Services: Include all remaining types of consumer cooperatives. Examples transporation, health insurance, education.
Includes producers of agricultural and industrial goods.
1) Agricultural sales: Farmers obtain better prices by marketing collectively. They will also sell more as a result of improved techniques that are learned.
2) Farmers Supply: Obtains through members capital and loan inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, plows, tractors, etc.
3) Rural Credit: Combats the problem of the yearly harvest being the only source of income. The source of credit is often supplied by the government, purposes for borrowing are limited.
4) Industrial: Workers become owners of their own stores; this type has not developed as rapidly as the others.
Organization of Cooperatives
This is a critical step, as it forms the basis for the working co-opt
Things to Consider
1) What exactly is the problem, and what type of co-op is the most appropriate?
2) Are there desirable conditions in the community for forming a co-op, and what are their strong points.
3) What technical aid is available (teachers, equipment)?
When the initial need and desire of a co-op has been expressed by the required number of people, an initial "Organizing Committee" is formed to piece together the necessary information. It is usually made up of 5 members, and has the following characteristics:
Characteristics of Members
- A true desire to see the co-op formed,
- A willingnes to study, accept new ideas, and work together,
- Devotes much of his/her own time to organizational work for the next few months.
The group should elect among themselves, a secretary, treasurer, and president; accurate records should be taken of activities. The first thing that should be done is a study to determine the availability of human resources.
Information Gathered in Study
- Names and addresses of members of the group and other interested people,
- Amount of educational work necessary,
- How many members, how much money is needed to ensure success.
The cooperative idea should be promoted by signs/posters/notices and by all existing members talking to other community members. If there is already a significant number of members, subcommittees may be formed to get the job done faster. Credit unions usually need 75 - 100 people; housing cooperatives may have as little as 40.
Any initial capital that would be needed to get things going can be raised by donations or by selling shares to members; each share price is determined by studying economic capabilities.
Education: Members must thoroughly understand the type of organization, since they will be directing it.
Laws: The organizing committee must find out legal requisites of incorporation; then write the by-laws of the cooperative. Each member must understand the try-laws and approve of them. They should be sent to the authorities for review.
The Organizing Committee then forms a questionnaire to determine minimum requirements:
Name, address, occupation, age, marital status,
Other organizations, leadership experience, amount of spare time
that can be devoted, special interests.
Monthly total income, surplus for savings, amount willing to
invest, credit rating and sources of credit.
Members should be assured that information is confidential , and questionnaires should be analyzed to determine 1) potential members and addresses, 2) list of members who have volunteered for committee work, 3) number of members who will raise necessary capital, 4) capital that can be raised immediately, and 5) amount of pledged capital that will be collected on time-payment. With this information the committee can determine the initial volume of business. When membership and capital have reached the point at which operations may be started, the organization committee is dissolved and a board of directors is elected, who will administer the cooperative for the coming year.
Volume of business will be directly proportional to the number of members who initially support the co-opt The committee must be careful not to over-estimate the economic capabilities.
Once the initial volume of business is known, the committee can determine the capital necessary. This includes the fixed and working capital needed to initiate the operation: Invested in equipment and business expenses until the co-op can cover these expenses with its own earnings.
When a realistic estimate has been made, the total capital that can be raised should be compared with the total amount needed to start operation. If total capital is less, then the difference can be raised either by soliciting more members or waiting until it is raised by monthly pledges.
When the amount of business and necessary capital have been estimated, the committee should form an estimated budget for the first year of operations of the co-opt
After this, the organizing committee is dissolved and two new groups are picked: the general assembly and the board of directors. Their members are voted in by majority rule of all members.
The general assembly represents the supreme authority of the cooperative. It meets once a year to review and approve operations of the past year, and plans operations for the coming year. Each member of the co-op has the opportunity to voice his/her opinion and register his/her vote. Resolutions are taken by majority vote.
The general assembly delegates most of its authority to the board of directors which meets more frequently and handles problems as they arise. The board of directors is responsible to the general assembly and therefore operates the cooperative in the name of all its members.
The general assembly retains "reserve rights", among which includes the right to suspend or dismiss any members of the board who does not perform his or her duty in the interest of all members.
The board of directors is composed of 5-9 members. They usually serve in staggered 2-3 year terms, at least one being elected each year. There is no financial compensation. Each year after elections, board members elect a president, secretary and treasurer.
The board of directors is responsible to the general assembly for:
1) Administering the cooperative by the majority,
2) Meeting at least once every two weeks,
3) Handling correspondence of the cooperative,
4) Keeping records of the board's actions,
5) Organizing and planning meetings of the general assembly.
In order to oversee the daily administration of the co-op, the board of directors must delegate some of it's authority to a manager. The board fixes the salary and outlines the tasks. Whether salaries are paid by the co-op depends upon the availability of capital to the co-op and the amount of work to be done. Possibly several managers will be needed so that daily cooperative duties can be done while each continues his own livelihood.
To ensure that officials do not abuse the authority invested in them, another committee is elected annually. This is the supervisory committee and consists of three members. Whenever committee members feel that the co-op is not working in the interest of its members, they must call it to the attention of the board members. If the latter is found at fault, the committee can ask for a meeting of the general assembly to deal with the matter.
A final committee to be elected is the educational committee. It is presided over by a member of the board of directors. It's purpose is to continue the education of members and to educate new members as they join. When possible the committee finances educational programs from part of the net earnings which are earmarked for that purpose.
In order to put the whole structure into motion, capital is needed. There are three main sources:
1) Loans from other cooperatives,
2) Loans from cooperative banks,
3) Loans from the government.
Most of the capital must come from the members' own pockets, because a cooperative is a self-help organization. If loan capital is used, the benefits which the members receive will be reduced until the loan is paid. Just how much capital must be raised by members and how much may be acquired by loans depends upon the type of cooperative.
The capital is used to initiate economic operations of the cooperative and consists of:
1) Total income: amount members have spent on their cooperative,
2) Total income: pays for total expenses.a. operating costs,
b. administrative expenses,
c. taxes required by law.
3) Total income minus total expenses equals net earnings.
These are used to pay:
a. reserve funds required by law and by-laws,
b. interest on the member's shares (minimum 6%)
c. educational fund.
After these expenses are paid, there may be a surplus. This can either be applied to next year's operations, or may be distributed to the members according to their patronage.
At the end of the year the board of directors reports expenditures to the general assembly. This report is drawn up by the manager and approved by both the supervisory committee and the board. It is then submitted to the members for their approval.
The members themselves must be aware of their fiscal responsibilities so that the co-op's money can be safeguarded. They must continually keep themselves informed and use their votes independently. As long as they are aware of these responsibilities, the cooperative will benefit, because members will control their own enterprise. However, if the co-op fails, members have only themselves to blame.
Members also have a collective responsiblity to vote on certain issues upon which the board cannot act. These are:
1) Approval of the board's yearly plan of operation,
2) Approval of yearly budget report,
3) Approval of the distribution of surplus,
4) Disposal of the assets of the cooperative,
5) Amendments to the by-laws,
6) Incorporation into a cooperative federation,
7) Dissolution of the cooperative,
8) In general, any act which modifies the by-laws.
The leaders of the cooperative also have responsibilities. A leader should have complete understanding of the principles and administration of his cooperative. He must have adequate knowledge of economic principles and understand the financial operations of the cooperative. He must also be aware of the limits of his authority and should set an example for others to follow. Lastly, he must cooperate with other leaders and respect the opinions of all. A group which lacks cooperation among its leaders can hardly expect to have cooperation among its members.
By-Laws of the Cooperative
By-laws vary considerably according to the type of cooperative. There is also a good deal of variation from country to country in cooperative by-laws. Each must be adapted to a different legal code.
By-laws should be designed to last the life of the cooperative. Because it is impossible to predict all the problems which will arise in the future, it is necessary to make the by-laws general in nature. They are subject to interpretation by the board of directors or general assembly as specific problems arise. Also, the amendment process should be realistic so that by-laws cannot be changed at the whim of the minority.
By-laws contain basic rules such as election dates, length of terms, number elected each year, etc. More specific information such as exact procedures for voting and nominating can be reserved for the internal regulations.
Purpose of By-Laws
I. Sets forth the general rules for governing,
a. legal rights of members,
b. operating procedures (administrative, financial).
II. Legalize cooperative as a business concern,
a. establish operations,
b. right to negotiate with third parties.
III. Incorporate the cooperative,
a. ensure concurrence with cooperative try-laws and legislation.
b. register with the proper authorities.
General Contents of Cooperative By-Laws
1. Constitution - Name of Cooperative,
A. Social and Administrative
1. Members: Membership requirements and rights, loss of membership,
2. General assembly: Authority, date of ordinary session, extraordinary sessions and rules of convening the assembly records,
3. Board of Directors: Authority, members and terms, requisites, duties,
4. Management: Manager, authority, duties, dismissal,
5. Supervisory Committee: composition, responsibilities, financing.
1. Capital Stock: initial capital, share value, restrictions on use,
2. Financing: credit, issuing new shares, special funds,
3. Loans to members: interest, valid reasons,
4. Accounting: inventory statements balance sheet,
5. Surplus: percentage to reserve funds, education, interest on shares.
1. Voluntary and involuntary,
2. Method of liquidation,
3. Distribution of assets.
D. Amending by-laws
Naturally, the administration and management of cooperatives are affected by laws of the country. Cooperatives are either obliged to, or forbidden from doing a number of things by law. In very few countries, there are no laws and cooperatives come under a loose administration of unincorporated groups of individuals. In other countries cooperatives come under the commercial code. But in most countries a special law exists governing cooperatives. The main difference is in the degree of detail. Some laws are very detailed, others give the national cooperative unions the right to formulate their own rules which must then be officially approved.
Almost universally, any group of people seeking to form a cooperative must first adopt bylaws, the objectives of which are clearly defined, and submit them for official government approval.
The law generally defines the conditions and obligations under which members may enter and leave cooperatives. A minimum number of members is usually required before a co-op can be registered. The minimum may vary from 7 to 20. Almost all the laws state that membership shall be open to all, except the requirement that members be above a certain age (usually 18). Sometimes membership can be limited to those living in the same village, same occupation, etc.
The law provides that the capital of the society shall be variable. If additional members seek admission, new shares will be issued. Members are usually free to leave under the law although in some cases they may be required to give notice, be liable for potential losses over a certain period of time, etc. Sometimes members are legally prohibited from resigning. This occurs in cooperatives formed for joint land use.
The law generally specifies how a cooperative is governed. Most countries' laws state that the highest authority is the general annual meeting. Each member has only one vote, some forbid voting by proxy and by mail. Some laws even detail the way in which meetings are held.
The law defines how the cooperative is to be financed. Usually there are two alternatives. One is that the cooperative may have no share capital. The members are jointly and severally liable, without limitation, for any debts or losses the cooperative may contract. The other alternative is that members subscribe shares either fully or partially paid up, and their liability is limited to the value of the shares or perhaps an amount two or three times the value of the share. It is widely believed that the collective moral obligation imposed on all members of a society by unlimited liability will promote a greater sense of responsibility.
Inhere a co-op is financed by shares, the rules must state the value of the shares, and the minimum and maximum number which members may hold. The minimum is usually the same for all members. The purpose of setting a maximum is to prevent any one person from having too large an interest. Some laws permit the transfer of shares.
Laws vary on whether a cooperative must do business only with members and if members must do business only with their cooperative.
Some laws insist on political and religious neutrality while others do not. Most specify what records must be kept and who has access to them. Almost all laws provide for periodical audits and annual reports to be submitted to the government. Some even defecate considerable privileges to cooperatives.
Common law and contract law are very important to cooperatives. These vary from country to country.
Cooperatives are greatly influenced by property laws. There are two important points to consider when property changes hands by sale or gift, or when the owner dies. First, is the owner entitled to transfer the property? Secondly, has he made his intention to do so perfectly clear to all involved?
Another area of concern for a cooperative is liability for injuries. Like common law, contract law, and property laws, bodily harm liability is not specific for cooperatives, but is nonetheless important.
It is the job of the secretary of the cooperative to know the legal statutes of the country and to see that they are enforced. A good cooperative secretry or manager should work to see that laws and regulations are observed, and contracts examined and implemented.
Admittedly, this paper is only a general outline. Hopefully, it has explained what a cooperative is, and basically explained the procedure of setting up a cooperative. A general idea of financing a cooperative and the laws governing cooperatives has been given.
One of the most important ideas is the basic premise of a cooperative which states that a cooperative is a self-help organization. The goal of the extension worker should be to make the cooperative a self-sufficient entity so that it will continue to prosper once he/she has left the community.
Peace Corps Volunteers Randall Stern and
Anne Wagner authored this section.
1. Morris D. Gross et al. Cooperative Teachers Manual. Centro Audio-Visual Punto IV . Quito, Ecuador, 1963.
2. Suzanne M. Rucker. News of Cooperative Development. Vol. 13. No. b. Agricultural Cooperative Development International, Washington, D.C.. 1981.
3. Mark X. Ogden; Handbook for Cooperative Field Workers in Developing Nations. Vol 1-7. United States Peace Corps, Washington, D.C.. 1978.
FORESTRY AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
In many agricultural areas soil fertility has been depleted after many years of overfarming and the lack of conservational practices against wind and water erosion. As a result of these improper practices, a snowballing of problems has been created. Production from the fields has forced the farmers to clear forested lands to make new fields. Most of the suitable agricultural land has been cleared and put into production and now the farmers are clearing areas that are not suited for agriculture. The farmers are aware that their land will soon run out and that they will have to move to new areas or eke out an existence on the poor land.
The denudation of the land has led to extensive soil erosion and heavy sedimentation of the streams and rivers which in turn has led to a lowering of the water table. A shortage of forage and grazing areas for livestock has also resulted from the lack of production in the fields.
One possible solution for this problem could be the following plan: Participants in this project would include a group of farmers and the younger members of their families. The younger members must be involved from the start if they are expected to carry on the project in the future. If in the community women have the responsibility of collecting forage for the livestock, they also should be included in the planning of the project since they will be the ones who will have to go cut and collect the forage. In many cases women in the community are the experts on firewood and therefore should be included in choosing the species. The community developers' role would be to help set up and design the project. Once the project is going he/she would remain to give technical assistance and support. Part of the technical assistance would be to help establish either a community nursery or individual nurseries. If a community nursery is made, the community developer must train someone to run the nursery.
Goals for the project must be reached through group participation so that all parties involved feel they have something invested in the project and will dedicate themselves to it. Goals should he divided into immediate and long term goals. Daily possible goals could be:
Raising the productivity of the land by proper land management
practices and incorporating soil conservation practices. An additional result
would be the slowing down of deforestation trends.
Long range goals:
The establishment of a permanent firewood supply, providing a
supplementary of forage supply for livestock, creating a source of
In setting out to reach these goals a multipurpose program must be established leaving room for expansion and changes. Also, all possible risks and each participant's role in the project must be clearly understood before the activities commence.
A key concept of forestry for local community development is the participation of all segments of the community, especially those groups whose role in the community is often invisible or ignored. This project promotes the participation of women in the community to help meet the needs for alternative sources of income. One reason for this is that women are most likely to have time between crops to devote to other activities. Also, women may feel more of a need to earn additional income since they rarely have the opportunity to work outside the home and to be paid for such activities. Although the project may begin with a group of young housewives or teenage women, activities should eventually involve other members of the community in some way. The plan should decide how members would be included after its initiation and what the responsibilities of participants would be.
In this plan the creation of alternate sources of income for project participants is the most important short-term goal. To evaluate if this goal is being achieved, participants need to examine whether the profit they earn makes the effort they put into the project worthwhile, whether the amount of profit makes an appreciable difference in their economic situation, and whether the money that they earn is available when it is most needed.
The long-range goals are concerned with the desired impacts the project would have on the community. Several of these might be:
- initiation of other projects in the community that provide alternative sources of income,
- increased appreciation and utilization of local resources,
- identification of women's activities as a stabilizing factor for the community,
- increased awareness of trees, especially indigenous forest species, as beneficial to the community,
- establishment of local nurseries that can supply fruit trees, ornamentals, and other tree species that can be utilized in community projects.
DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT:
The basis of this plan is the development of existing skills and practices for the participants. The first step would be the investigation of those activities in which women are involved and which could be developed to generate income. This example uses the processing of fruits to make marmalades and jams.
It would be necessary to know which fruits are locally used, when they are available, and how their sources are distributed
The first step in reversing the deforestation process is the need to re-establish the fertility of the soil and eliminate the need to make new fields. This could be accomplished by incorporating green manure crops into a crop rotation plan. Also, by planting certain legume tree species, which have good nitrogen fixing characteristics on "curves de nivel", the pruning of these species could serve as firewood, eliminating the need to go to the forest for firewood.
However, if this is to be a successful project, it must be fully understood by the farmers that the green manure crops have to be turned over and incorporated into the soil before they fruit to serve as a fertilizer. It could be difficult to convince them to "throw away" a crop.
In order to slow down wind and water erosion there are a variety of solutions. To eliminate much of the problem of wind erosion, wind breaks could be established. This could be done by planting a live fence with the trees planted close together. This live fence could be planted with trees that serve more than one purpose, such as fruit trees, forage species or even berry bushes.
To control water erosion the fields must be put into "curves de nivel" or countour lines. Along the curves a variety of plants could be planted. Bunch grasses could be planted that serve either as forage or for roof thatching.
An agro-forestry plan using a variation of the taungya system by planting multi-purpose tree species (ones that are good for firewood, lumber and forage) could also be incorporated into the curves. If a legume is used it would also fix nitrogen. Either exotic or indigenous species could be used. Whenever possible, indigenous species should be used. Indigenous species are much more adaptable to the climate and are more disease and insect resistant. However, if such indigenous species is not available, an exotic may be used. The advantage of using an exotic is that there are some regimes which have all of the desired characteristics: They are good firewood crops, they coppice well, their foliage is very high in protein, they are good lumber trees, and they fix nitrogen into the soil.
If the short term goals are reached, the long term goals are only a few years behind. If managed properly, a permanent firewood supply can be established from the trees planted on the "curves de nivel". If indigenous species are to be used, the women should be consulted to find out with which woods they prefer to cook. however if exotics are used, choose a fast growing species with good coppice ability, or combine a mixture of them both.
It multipurpose species are planted they will also create a supplementary forage supply. Fruit trees such as guava from which cows like to eat the fruit may also be planted. Also incorporated into the crop rotation plan could he a forage grain such as alfalfa which after a few cuttings could be turned into the soil as a green manure.
Timber will be supplied when the trees that were planted along the curves reach maturity. They may be cut down and used or sold as lumber. If the trees were species that coppice well, they will regenerate themselves while still serving as soil binders, firewood and forage suppliers, and nitrogen fixators. Being planted in rows and constantly being pruned for firewood will ensure that they grow straight and tall.
A direct result though not a very visible one in reaching these goals will be the level of the water table, reestablishing the ecological equilibrium and slowing down the migratory movement away from the community.
A result of shifting agriculture is the denudation of the land causing heavy soil erosion which eventually leads to the lowering of the water table. Water is no longer able to soak into the ground to reach the subterranean streams which feed the local wells. Instead, the water runs off the hills silting up the streams and rivers. The ecological equilibrium has also been disturbed: fish can no longer live in the silted rivers, and animals are being forced deeper into or in some cases out of the forests looking for food. People who rely on hunting for their food are finding it more difficult and are being forced to depend more on consumer foods. People are migrating from these older areas where the land has been depleted and the forests destroyed to newer settled areas.
An ongoing evaluation of the project should be carried out. A committee comprised of farmers, women and members of the younger generation can evaluate whether crop production is being increased and if so, is the amount of increase making these practices profitable. However, it must be kept in mind that the increase in firewood and forage must be included in the profits.
PROJECT PLANS: Forestry for Community Development
In most agricultural based communities, and especially in colonial areas isolated from larger towns and centers of commerce, the local economy is based and dependent upon the cycles of harvests throughout the year. This cycle is important to the farmer because it gives him time between harvests to do any necessary maintenance jobs and to prepare his fields for the next season's crops. But since the crops a farmer can raise on his land are often his only source of income, it also creates a season of "no money," or that time when the last harvest's income runs out and the next harvest is months away. This presents a serious problem for many rural families, one that effects almost all aspects of community life.
The following plan proposes ways in which this problem can be met by the community with the objective of supplying alternative sources of income to members of the project.
Within the community. Fruits which are commonly used are oranges, grapefruits, guava and various berries. Other fruits are cultivated locally or can be harvested from indigenous forest species .
The timing of fruit harvests is important and should not interfere with regular harvests or those periods during the year when communities are involved in other established, predetermined activities. Also important is that the income from the project is available when most needed. It only a few individuals cultivate certain fruit on their land, it may be preferable to choose the fruit of a common forest species which would he available to all. Marketability of the fruit product should also be considered to ensure that enough profit could he generated by the project.
After discussing these aspects, participants should also consider which fruits they enjoy working with most, which would he used most in their homes, and which would yield the highest quality and variety of products.
Any community worker could be of assistance in the investigative phase of this project. He could also distribute the results of the investigation and present the project to the community. It would be important for him to present this project to all segments of the community who may be involved or who may affect the success of the project. Such people may include husbands of the participants who may object to the activities of their wives, or to local shopowners who may be relied upon to market the products. After interested members have understood and accepted their responsibilities as participants, the development worker with several participants could initiate the plan by giving simple lessons in preparation of the chosen fruits. Harvesting, storage, hygiene and various recipes could he discussed, along with instructions on how to conserve properly their products.
START UP MAINTENANCE:
The site for group activities could be found within the community: the local school, a social center or a home of one of the participants The individual activities could take place in the member's home. Many options exist, however, such as small groups working together in homes or using a community kitchen such as in a school.
Each participant would produce jams and preserves from fruits with which she has chosen to work and which is available on her lane. Another alternative would be for the group to buy fruits at hulk rate to supply to all members. This option may be beneficial when certain seasonal fruits are very cheap in local markets.
Although the actual production of the jams should be simple, there are several points that, especially in the beginning of the project, should he carefully observed:
- production should begin with a fey! jams which are known to be widely accepted and relatively simple to make. Even though they may not generate the most profit, their simplicity allows for the most certain, immediate success of the project. The project could he expanded later, after it is well-established, to include other fruit products that would sell for higher prices.
- some quota should be set for the minimum amounts of jam produced by each member within a certain period. For example, the quota for a one-month period may be five quarts of orange marmalade and five quarts of guava jam. These quotas should he based on the minimum amount of products needed at a given season to make transporation and marketing profitable and the amount of profit possible to the producer so that participation in the project is worthwhile.
- a committee should be responsible for quality-control, examining the products according to standards they have designed, and using only suitable products for sale.
BENEFIT DISTRIBUTION PLAN:
The marketing of these jams would be the next important stage of this project. A collection site should be chosen where participants could deliver their finished products to be strored until they are marketed. At this point participants could receive credit for the value of the products they have contributed and would realize their profit after marketing.
A different committee could be responsible for maintaining this collection site (possibly a member's home), keeping records of products contributed by each member, delivering products to chosen markets (possibly local shops, large town markets, or an individual buyer), and distributing profits to members after sale. The group may choose to save a percentage of the profits for future supplies needed, or individuals may buy needed supplies for personal profits.
The role of the community worker during these stages should be one of technical advice and support, perhaps helping with problems in the jam production, giving ideas for different ways and places to market the products, or giving advice on caring for fruit trees and planting new varieties. The managerial duties should be in the hands of elected committees within the group.
Other members of the community may eventually become involved in the maintenance of this project as it expands. The men in the community may be able to supply the firewood which its needed for making the jams, local shopowners could cooperate in marketing the products, school children could be employed in harvesting fruits and a local nursery could be contacted as supplier of fruit tree seedlings so that new trees and new fruit varieties could be obtained by participants. If there is no local nursery, some groups may cooperate with the project by establishing one and having a ready market for their seedlings. In this way the project involves many segments of the community and its benefits are distributed widely.
The time for the project could initially he one year, or possibly one season, from fruit harvest to selling the products. This allows potential for program flexibility by evaluation the success or problems of the project after one season of operation. Changes can be initiated to reach better the goals of the project., or it can be decided that the program as it exists is not meeting the needs of the participants.
By looking at the long-range implication of a project such as this, we see how community development needs can be met by forestry, in this case through the cultivation of fruit trees and the utilization of their products. On the other hand, the goals of forestry projects can he successfully met by working through a community development approach. The establishment of community awareness and appreciation of forestry in simple projects has immediate impact and thereby increases the chances for success in future projects.
SHORT AND LONG RANGE GOALS:
Goals of the project should come out of the needs and wants of the community. They should be well defined and clearly reflect the desires of the community to create good quality participation. The goals are as follows:
- students will learn about nutrition and how a balanced diet is needed to remain healthy.
- within a relatively short period of time, the garden will be producing a continuous supply of fruits and vegetables that will help provide a better diet.
- the students in the school would be receiving environmental education from working and observing the garden.
- this project will hopefully serve as a model for designing future projects dealing with other community needs .
OTHER LONG RANGE GOALS:
- The school garden plot would help educate the total community about health and gardening.
- With this new awareness families would begin their own gardens .
- As fruits and vegetables become more common in the community, the nutrition and health levels will rise.
- The one or two seedbeds of tree and shrub, species may encourage the planning of a separate tree nursery.
- Trees and shrubs would he available for the students to plant at home, in the; schoolyard, or around the community.
- Trees and shrubs could be grown to promote the "week of the tree" activities.
- Trees, shrubs, fruits and vegetables could be sold to buy more seeds and tools.
- When fruit trees mature, extra vitamins could be ended to the diet of the community.
- Tree species planted to provide forage for livestock would help improve the quality of livestock raised.
- Trees could he used to begin agro-forestry projects.
- Shrubs could one day be used as live fences, replacing the old.
- The experience of students working together for a common goal will possibly improve their ability to work effectively with the community in the future as adults.
- Also, community projects will help develop close ties within the community which may encourage young adults to remain, when so many migrate to the cities.
Methods of evaluating the project should be incorporated into the project design. A system of feedback from project and community members will help to keep the project on track. Questions that may want to be answered are: Are the vegetables growing? Are they selling? Are the students ambitious? Is the community building gardens? Be sensitive to whether the project is meeting the goals set. If not, be prepared to re-evaluate each situation and make the necessary changes
Community developers possess many skills which can be transmitted to developing communities. The key to this approach is the answering of these needs by using the resource already available but perhaps not realized.
The above project plans have been presented as examples of how forestry can be used to meet basic human needs. This is a new concept with a new name; forestry for local community development (FLCD). FLCD projects approach forestry related problems differently than the more traditional forestry projects. In the past a top-down, large scale industrial forestry approach was taken, an approach in which individuals from outside the community benefited from the projects. Now community specific projects in which the members of the community themselves develop, plan, carry out and benefit from the project, are being stressed by both local governments and international development agencies.
FLCD has given a new meaning to the word "forestry" to encompass anything from picking fruits and canning them to integrating agriculture with forestry. This is done to meet the needs of the community.
In the examples presented, the community needs were met through their own efforts. The community identified potential problems and through forestry sought viable solutions. Each project illustrated how all segments of the community were involved, including such frequently ignored grounds as shorten, the handicapped and the aged. AS is the case in any developing country, community-oriented projects are unique to an individual setting. Problem solving techniques should take into consideration each community's existing level of skills, local resources and culturally accepted traditions. The end result should he the building of self reliance and sustained benefits for the community as a whole.
Hopkins, Marilyn W. 1979. Women in Forestry For Local Community Development. AID Washington, D.C.
FAO Forestry Department. Forestry for Rural Communities. FAO. New York.
Devres 1980. The Socio-Economic Context of Fuelwood Use in Small Rural Communities. AID.
Evaluation. Special Study No. 1. AID Washington, D.C.
The following Peace Corps Volunteers contribute to this exercise:
Karen Dillman, Jacob Fillion, Terry Simeone, Kama Sterrett.
FOREST PRODUCTS OTHER THAN TIMBER
The world's forests are being reduced drastically every year because of the need for timber, firewood and clearing for agricultural purposes. This has negative affects on the ecological balance of nature. A tree is more than a storehouse of tangible products, but a self-sustaining micro-environment of itself. Trees stop soil erosion, create watershed and land stability for hydrological systems, all of which make for a healthier environment. One way to maintain the ecological balance of nature is by developing products other than timber or multi-product forestry" (MPF).
In order for MPF to be developed effectively it is essential that the extensionist reach the campesino at the community level. To the campesino, MPF means (1) better land use through aquaculture-agriculture, silvipasture or combinations of both, (2) greater economic stability through full fledged reap of plant anatomy (3) continuation of traditional and cultural uses i.e., herbal medicines. Various products of this multi-use system include: 1) food for human consumption, such as nuts, fruits, oils, syrups, 2) food for animal consumption such as fodder, fruits, seeds, 3) commercial products such as medicines, art, rubber, oils, dyes, rope, resin (tannin). By-products include silk, honey, wildlife (game meat), mushrooms, fish, and fertilizers. Other important uses include windbreaks and shade.
Some specific examples of product forestry are:
Acacia albida retains its leaves through the dry season and sheds them just as the rainy season begins. This has a number of economic benefits: a) forage is available throughout the dry season when other trees are leafless; b) at the end of the dry season, when feed is often desperately scarce, the protein-rich pods are maturing and drop off in huge quantities; c) during the hot months the trees' dense foliage provides cool shade for livestock; d) the trees leafy crown protects the soil when most grasses have succumbed to drought, leaving the ground vulnerable to wind erosion; e) the leaf mulch and continuous presence of livestock near the trees greatly enrich the soil, making it more suitable for growing crops among scattered trees; f) the trees' foliage falls off just when food crops are being planted, perfectly timed for providing soil nutrients when they are most needed; g) the trees lack of leaves during the rainy season enables sunlight to reach crops planted around it.
Other advantages of this tree include drought resistance and existence of 350mm to 650mm of rain per year. The seeds can he dried and used later for easier planting, unlike other acacia pods, which split apart and disintergrate when stored. The spreading root system provides excellent protection of soil. Although this tree is indigenous to Africa, this is a near perfect example of agro-silva pasture, and research is being done to develop it elsewhere.
Leucaena leucocephala is indigenous to Central America and offers one of the widest assortments of uses in tropical legumes.
This tree fixes nitrogen into soil, provides nutritious forage and rich organic fertilizer as well as firewood. Its diverse uses include reforestation of eroded hillsides, windbreaks and shade. A leucena pasture is almost 2m high, which gives it an added dimension; cattle find forage from ground level to eye level. Sunlight penetrates through the plants' open feathery leaves, reaching the lowest branches and grasses beneath allowing everything to grow well. In fact cattle relish the leaflets and young stems so much that they often strip the branches bare. But the leucena grows so rigorously that they can refoliate totally in two weeks. These same plants can he continuously grazed for over 20 years.
The leaves which are similar to alfalfa in digestibility, protein content and nutritional value, are particularly palatable to dairy cows, beef cows, water buffaloes and goats. However, leucena has one disadvantage; mimosine, and uncommon amine' acid comprises 5% of the protein of the leaflets. If taken in excess it causes cattle to produce less than normal quantities of: thyroxin. This crop should be no more than 1/3 the diet of any one given cow. Safe varieties of leucena are being developed. Nonetheless, two decades of research have shown that leucena complimented with grasses has produced cattle with extraordinary weight gains over extended periods. In Brisbane, Australia, cattle feeding on leucena gained an average of almost 1 kg/day for more than 200 days. Such growth is twice the normal amount. This species demonstrates the advantage of silva pasture while reforesting lands and preventing soil erosion.
Tamarindua indica is indigenous to the dry savannas of Africa. 250,000 tons are harvested annually, of which 3,000 tons are exported to Europe and North America. Its pulpy sweet and sour pods are used for meat sauces and beverages. The tamarind has an attractive commercial future for producing drinks, jams and confections on an industrial scale. The tree is very adaptable to dry savanna and monsoon regions as long as troth have well drained soils. Because of its versatility, the tamarind deserves greater research with special attention to extensive, organized plantings. The tree is drought-resistant and frequently seen in sandy soils near the seashore. It tolerates widely different soils and is known as the "hurricane-resistant" tree because its supple branches are stabilized during strong winds. About half the pod weight consists of both sugars and organic acids such as citric, tartaric, acetic and ascorbic (vitamin C). The pulp is a rich source of vitamins and important minerals and contains more calcium than most fruits. Average annual yield from an adult is very large, 150 - 200 kg of fruit per tree or about 12 - 16 tons/ha. The pulp is often eaten fresh, directly from the pod. It is also used to season many foods, for example chutney, curries, preserves, confections, ice cream and syrups. Also, pulp is used in Worcestershire and barbecue sauces. Although the pulp is by far the most important product of the tamarind tree, the tree is also used for other products, since young leaves, pods and flowers are edible. The flowers can be an important source of honey. Seeds are used for livestock reed. Tamarind is also used for textile purposes and seeds yield an amber-colored oil suitable for foods and industrial use. Tamarind is also valuable for fuelwood. Tamarind charcoal is such high quality that it has been used for making gun powder and was a major fuel for producing gas (gasogen) during world war II Tamarind is easy to propagate by direct seeding or by transplanting. Its seeds remain viable for months and germinate rapidly.
Mangroves are found throughout the tropics and subtropics of the world in shallow water and muddy tidal flats. Conditions most favorable for mangrove development are found in quiet hays, into which rivers flow gently. Its uses include charcoal for fuel, coastal protection from typhoon and storm damage through building and binding sand, and soil which effect their own repairs through self-regeneration. Extractions such as tannin are used to produce hard leather for shoe soles and resins are used in bonding plywood. Pulp is used for rayon manufacturing and food and wildlife production. Mangrove swamps are "the cradle of life," creating the spawning and nursery grounds for many species of fish as well as shrimps, crabs, clams, oysters and crocodiles. They are feeding and nesting grounds for many sea birds and provide home to other wildlife. Thus, many people indirectly draw their livelihood from mangroves. Mangrove areas are potential resources for aquaculture. Flooded swamp areas have the capacity to yield 10 times as much per unit area as the Atlantic Ocean.
In conclusion, any new forestry project introduced in-country must be tailored to meet the needs of the local, rural community. In doing this, a convenient programming tool is to group comparable systems together. The main categories are: small scale forestry (village woodlots ), agri-silvi-culture, arboriculture (tree farming), silvo-pastoral and multi-product forestry. All systems yield products that can either be directly consumed or easily harvested and marketed by the local community. The objective of any forestry project is to benefit from trees while restoring the ecological balance to the land.
FORESTRY EXTENSION AND DEVELOPING NATIONS
Forestry extension is the science and art of transferring knowledge from research and experience to the practical use of the people. Forestry extension is a science from the standpoint that it requires methods of research and investigation; and an understanding of the basic principles of forestry. It is an art from the standpoint that the dissemination of this information requires a definite personality, style and technique; and an understanding of the people with whom you are working. This "art of dissemination" associated with forestry extension is what we will discuss in this paper, assuming that the reader already has an understanding of the science.
The process of dissemination can be seen as a bridge which links the existing body of knowledge of forestry to the public.
Selecting the right bridge or method of dissemination is critical. The method must match the means and resources of the community. To stretch the analogy of a bridge still further, if your bridge is not well secured on troth ends, it will not support your program. As Peace Corps volunteers in developing nations, you may find it hard even to see both ends of the bridge, let alone make them secure. Indeed, it is obvious that sound forestry applications and practices have not yet "bridged" the gap to the developing nations as deforestation and poor land management practices continue at an alarming rate. Well then, how can we as PCVs build sound bridges to cross to the other side? What follows is a type of manual to be used in building your bridge. fee have not supplied you with any parts or blueprints because each bridge has to be built differently, just as all situations are different. The construction is up to you as an individual, but we have supplied you with what we believe to he the most important element in bridge building: IDEAS. Use what follows as may be appropriate. Happy bridge building!
Resources for Extension
The most valuable resource for extension work is yourself. Your educational background, your variety of work experiences, and your broad base of knowledge from reading is something for which many volunteers do not give themselves credit. The ability to think and plan, and to process problems logically, is a valuable skill to share with people. Besides yourself, there is within every community an infrastructure of knowledgeable people. Utilize those persons who already know the local plants and trees. Also there are trained agency employees for many aspects of extension topics. Another group of resource people can be found through international development agencies, including Peace Corps. Use your human resources.
You can improve your resourceful value through research. There is a variety of printed materials available through various agencies both national and international. Books, magazines, and newsletter publications are available, although you may have to search them out by getting on mailing lists and requesting subscriptions through your local agency or Peace Corps program. Also you can exchange materials with other people in your field. This material also needs to be made available to your extension staff and the campesinos. A good project is to translate technical works into simple pamphlets and posters for distribution in the community. Use the resources available and be a resource yourself.
There are many vehicles available to an extensionist. Each person needs to try out different ways and choose the ones which are best suited for the situation according to resources available and personal style. Be innovative in trying new ways, keep variety in your presentations, and share successful teaching tools with others in the field.
Examples of effective techniques include slide show presentations, public demonstrations, giving classes in the community and schools, signs and posters, showing movies, demonstration plots with labels, newspaper articles and other written information, and personal contacts with individuals in their fields. There are more.
The level of effectiveness rises with concrete demonstrations. Seeing is believing, doing is learning.. "Mingas" or cooperative projects are more likely to be seen and trusted. To effect a change, the value must be made clear. Emphasize the concrete-financial-benefits for planting. Shows multiple use of a windbreak for firewood, shelter, future poles, as well as erosion control. Included in your training resources should be a variety of simple demonstrations such as the soil boxes to demonstrate erosion control.
Using the Formal Schools Systems
The key to the future is educations of the youth. The school system enables the extensionist to reach the next generation of landowners in an atmosphere of learning. Generally schools kids are curious and eager to learn, and you will reap rewards from those children with whom you work.
First steps of contact need to be with the school administration or through a teacher. Most will he open to your proposals of classroom help or with projects of school woodlots, viveros, or gardens. You will need to start out by building a base of trust and cooperation with your counterpart teacher and nurture that relationship to ensure future teaching opportunities.
You do not have to be a trained school teacher to conduct basic classes in conservation and forestry. Using your best extension techniques, keep them scaled to the learning, level of the class. Remember, most school teaching situations are more formal in developing countries than your own. Perhaps you can observe a class and work closely with the teacher. Prepare lesson plans in triplicate - one for your cooperative teacher, one for your records, and one to share with other volunteers through your Peace Corps program.
Invest in the future by teaching. Help increase awareness and understanding at the grass roots level in schools. It will be rewarding for you and the national goals in conservation and forestry.
Informal Teaching Situations
As an extensionist, you must learn to be open and take advantage of informal teaching situations. Many of your best opportunities will occur spontaneously when you least expect them. Do not be so into your own structured program that you overlook other excellent possibilities to promote extension. Extension is always dynamic, meaning that it is a continuous process. You cannot shut it off and on. Remember this, always try to set a good example and be as accessible as possible to your community. Your own personal dedication and actions are powerful teaching techniques. Use them to your advantage. Remember that actions speak louder than words, especially in your first few months at your site when your language skills may be minimal (or nonexistent). Speak through your actions - a universal language.
Personal contact is vital to forestry extension. Remember, you are someone new and different and you must let people get to know and understand just who you are. The best way to do this is to talk personally with as many people as possible. Communication is almost totally word of mouth in developing nations, unlike the U.S where we depend on newspapers, books, TV and radio. Also it will be obvious that you are interested in the community when you take the time and effort to talk personally with individuals. Teach them through personal contact when practical and possible.
As an extension agent you must make a major effort not only to advise the community of how to improve its forestry and agricultural techniques, but to explain why there are problems, how they develop, and how they impact on things living in the environment. These concepts can be extremely complex to explain. An important rule to remember is "keep things simple." Explain one specific point at a time, using concrete examples. Try to keep a logical progression, expanding when you are sure the ground work has been laid.
For example, the loss of nutrients occurs both when topsoil is lost through erosion and when crops use up the nutrients as they grow. Therefore, soil fertility can be maintained by erosion control, crop rotation, use of N-fixing plants, and fertilizing. Each one of these needs to be broken down into separate lessons, such as separate demonstrations regarding different types of erosion control measures. The level of frustration decreases with the level of simplicity. Do not be an agent of confusion.
Qualities of the Forestry Extensionist
- Creates his/her message with community in mind.
- Flexible enough to take advantage of spontaneous opportunities to advance forestry extension.
- Is dedicated to the community and forestry profession.
- Keeps his/her message simple, clear and to the point.
- Uses resources available in the community.
- Provides for continuation of forestry extension after he/she leaves.
- Continues self-education in the field.
- Seeks the advice of members of the community.
- Is an available and easily accessible resource to the community.
- Creates free time for his/her mental health.Peace Corps Volunteers Mark Jackson
and Bill Stenett prepared this article.
I. Proposal for Native Forest Woodlot Management
Throughout tropical America, native forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Tropical America is said to contain approximately 590,000,000 hectares of closed tropical forest, well over half of the world's tropical biome It current accelerating trends continue, up to 307,000,000 hectares of this forest could possibly be lost to deforestation by the year 2,000. In Paraguay alone, an estimated 200,000 hectares of primary subtropical forests are destroyed each year. The eastern high forests of Paraguay, which contain some of the world's most valuable timber species, are expected to disappear, except in isolated patches before 1990. That same threat lies over the coastal forests of Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela and Brazil, and to a lesser extent, Amazonia.
So, here we are in 1981. What, as land conservationists working in these tropical/subtropical areas, are we able to do to stem the proverbial rising tide of deforestation? First of all we must realize that in many areas deforestation is a necessary evil needed to convert forest lands to agricultural purposes for many of the world's landless population. Many tropical and subtropical areas have demonstrated that with proper soil management practices (i.e., agrosilviculture, contour plowing), they are able to support sustained yield crops. The problem begins when marginal lands (those lying on steep slopes or along rivers and streams), or areas in the humid tropics which receive more than 3000mm of annual rainfall, (e.g., Napo River area, Ecuador), are cleared of the natural forest and converted to monocultural situations. These areas quickly prove to be susceptible to an acceleration of soil compaction and erosion leading to abandonment of sites within a few years.
Let us examine the situation of the watershed of the Panama River along the Parayuayan/Brazilian/Argentinian horder as a case in point. This is an area of roughly 5,000 square kilometers which has recently come under heavy colonization pressure. The Panama River Valley is said to contain the richest hardwood forest in the western hemisphere in terms of value per hectare of standing timber. The forests are rapidly being felled with the principle conversion being to agriculture. This use is not sustainable unless strict soil conservation and management is practiced. Destruction of the mixed hardwood forest is causing a negative ecological impact. The soils are agricultural in nature, - alluvial, deep and well drained. however, total removal of forest cover on steep slopes or along critical watersheds leads to wind, water and solar erosion, heavy siltation of rivers and streams and a dramatic drop in the water table. It has been estimated that conversion of the area to agriculture, while leaving 30 - 50% of the forest intact, would probably alleviate many of these problems. In many areas primary and secondary forests still exist on steep slopes and along waterways. This is usually the case on small landholdings between 5 - 30 hectares, where campesino owners have left these remnant patches until available time, labor and money allow for these areas to also be converted to agricultural use. It is With these "marginal" lands still remaining in the forest that Peace Corps volunteers, working in land conservation, could concentrate their efforts. By offering the campesino landowner a forest land use plan for the management of his woodlands as a woodlot or "Arboleda", thousands of scattered hectares of forestlands could he saved from conversion. These smatterings of remnant forests could constitute a significant proportion of Paraguay's future forest reserve.
It is recognized that many problems arise in the promotion of long-term land use plans to campesinos whose vision usually does not extend past the next planting season. These difficulties can be overcome by appealing to the campesino on an intellectual level, offering him genuine "facts" on the long range economic value of woodlot management along with the immediate returns and benefits to be realized year round, i.e.; continual source of firewood and lumber for personal use. Then compare woodlot use to other land uses. On a personal level discuss the future security of sons and daughters or even his own old age security. Fortunately, economics will, in the long run, he the ultimate promoter of the value of woodlot management; as the scarcity of first class wood grows, the value of residual stands increases. The Paraguayan high forest can be managed in 30 year rotations producing as much as 115/hectares of high grade timber each rotation. Therefore, the management of indigenous forestlands should he viewed as a viable and legitimate land use.
The campesino who spends half his life beating back the forest so that he can plant his crops, traditionally shirks of the forest as an enemy. When he sees forested land, he sees land that is being "wasted" or "not used"; land that is unproductive and should he cleared and planted. Many campesinos view their cleared fields as a sign to the community that they are hard workers who utilize their land: a clearer field is a symbol of progress. Here the volunteer conservationist has the opportunity to teach the benefits and economic value of woodlot management. If forestlands can he shown to have a legitimate land use, it would be viewed as land not wasted, but rather as an integral part of a farm's complete "integrated land use plan."
The objective of this paper is to arm the volunteer with the theory and practice of native forest management in the tropics, so that he or she can carry these ideas to the campo and promote them. Many of the silvicultural techniques used in managing an ecosystem as complex and dynamic as the neotropical forest are still poorly understood and yet untried. But in the case of Paraguay, as well as many other Latin American countries, where the time for promoting forest land conservation and management is limited to just the next couple of years, the time to start is now. lime is too short to wait until stand increment and individual species growth studies are concluded and published. Enough information is available in most tropical countries to be applied in a sound management scheme. The important consideration is that eventual impact on the land will be positive and not negative, because management should do nothing but improve forest land productivity in the long run. Because we are working in most cases, with rotations of 25 - 40 years, there is much time to improve management techniques or practice. Therefore, it is of lisle importance that our silviculture is foolproof from the beginning. What is important is that the campesino landowner recognizes the importance of woodlot management and sets aside land (marginal or otherwise) for an Arboleda."
II. A Woodlot Management Scheme
As most tropical ecologists Know managing an ecosystem as dynamic and complex as the neotropical forest can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Trying to manage these forests on a sustained yield basis can be even more so. Presented here is a management program developed for a Paraguayan subtropical humid forest woodlot. It may be that it cannot he applied in all or even most tropical/subtropical forest situations. It is simply offered as a guideline for possible ideas for application where a management plan might he needed and utilized.
The Theory of Tropical Forest management
The theory of this management plan is based on the proposition that a tree like "Lapacho" (Tabebuia ipe) from the time of germination in the natural forest needs more than 100 years to mature to a marketable size of 60 cm in diameter at breast height (dbh). But this same tree could reach the same size in less than 60 years if the forest in which the Lapacho is growing is "managed". What is meant by managed is that a cleaning of the forest understory or a "Limpieza del Monte" is employed to eliminate weeds, shrubs and lianas (epiphytes) that compete and supress the growth of the valuable species like Lapacho.
When looking at a forest profile we can identify 3 diameter classes in a natural stand:
1) the dominants and co-dominant trees of the 40 cm and larger trees,
2) the juvenile and standard size trees of the 10 - 40 cm class,
3) the seedlings and saplings of the 0 - 10 cm class.
Since we can see that the natural forest is a dynamic, ever growing system, we realize that if we were to remove the largest trees in the forest (all the trees of the greater than 40 cm class) the two smaller diameter classes would remain to recover and grow to dominante positions in the forest canopy, and could be harvested at a future date. In other words, the forest is managed on a "sustained yield" basis. While it may take a Lapacho 60 years to grow from germination to a mature size in the managed stand it would take only 30 years for the middle diameter class to grow to a mature size. Therefore, our woodlot is managed in 30 year cutting or harvest cycles (there are 30 years between each harvest of mature trees).
When discussing woodlot management with the campesino landowner not too much emphasis should be placed on these harvests every 30 years. The more immediate benefits should be highlighted. For example, one hectare of managed woodlot is able to provide a continual annual source of firewood to a family or community using only the dead standing or sound fallen trees without ever cutting a live tree. Lumber for house building or other construction projects could be obtained from a campesino's own private woodlot, and it would not be necessary to call upon expensive outside resources for materials. Other products to be realized are tool handles, fence posts, fruits, orchids, latex, medicinal plants and drug extracts, game animals and parrots. All are renewable within a reasonable period of time after conservative harvesting. By cultivation of the forest the production of many of these living things can be substantially increased. The establishments of plantations of Palmito (Enterpe edulis) in the forest understory is a good example. Palmito occurs naturally in the forest understory. The terminal portion of it's growing stem is used as a food condiment and is considered a delicacy. As many as 100 plants/ hectare could be planter' in a woodlot, integrated with tree enrichment plantings, and harvested after 15 years of growth.
Lastly, with the rapid rate of deforestation the value of a harvest each 30 years will increase the importance of some of the world's most valuable hardwoods.
It has been estimated that the natural forest can support from 100 to 150 large trees of the greater than 40 cm class per hectare. Rarely is this density of stocking found in the natural forest due to competition from a variety of weed trees, herbacious plants, and shrub species. Therefore, the objective of a forest management program is to eliminate competing species and to maintain optimum stocking of valuable timber in each diameter class. The forest manager should try and maintain the stocking of the less than 10 cm class at 300 saplings/hectare and of the 10 - cm class at least 150 juvenile trees/hectare. This will ensure that at least 100 trees of the greater than 40 cm class will be harvested each 30 years from each hectare.
The forest management program is divided into 4 parts:
1. the cleaning of the forest understory ("Limpieaz del Norte")
2. the forest inventory,
3. the enrichment plantings,
4. the selective harvest.
A time-line of these steps might appear as such:
The first 3 steps, the clearing of the forest understory, the forest inventory and the enrichment plantations are usually employed together. In this way the inventory and the plantings can follow the understory clearings' taking advantage of the freedom of access and movement created by the clearings. The harvest is made as a separate step usually taking place 10 to 30 years after the first 3 steps are done. In Paraguay it is recommended that the winter months between May and August are employed for this work. During these months campesinos have less work in the field and thus could devote More tine working in the woodlot. Also the winter temperatures are more comfortable for this heavy work and there is considerably less danger of snake and insect bites to workers.
Before beginning the first steps of the management program the location of each managed hectare (or managed "unit" if areas less than one hectare are used) in the woodlot should he well established and marked with painted posts in each corner. A crude map will facilitate future record keeping of inventories and planning or scheduling of future harvests. A 10 meter buffer strip of natural (uncleared) forest should be left on the outside boundaries of the woodlot. The advantages of this practice are:
1. to protect the cleared area from strong winds,
2. to form a natural fence against livestock entrance,
3. to maintain shade within the closed canopy to prevent the entrance of sunlight that would stimulate new weed growth within the cleared area.
The Forest Clearing
The of the forest understory of unwanted vegetation is the first step in the management program. A clearing involves the elimination of all species of shrubs, herbacious plants and lianas (Epiphyte climbus) that have no value as wood materials, firewood, or medicinal or edible plants. This unwanted vegetation competes with the regeneration of valuable wood species and suppresses their development. The clearing will also stimulate new regeneration of trees and growth of released seedlings.
There are, principally, 5 to 10 species of plants that form 90% of the thick growth in the forest understory. In trying to identify the seedlings of the various valuable wood species (some 300 of them), it is more practical to learn to recognize the 5 to 10 "weed" species that you want to eliminate. Another reason for utilizing this approach is that inexperienced campesinos can be quickly trained to identity these few weed species for removal when learning to employ forest clearings in their woodlots. It has been determined that between 85 to 110 work hours (or 3 persons working 2 ½ days) are needed to learn well one hectare. This estimate depends on the thickness of: growth in the forest understory and the level of experience of the workers. The clearing should open up much area of greater solar penetration, stimulating new vegetation and also giving growth opportunity to supressed seedlings to grow above competition. If the clearing is well done it needs only to be applied once every cutting cycle (every 30 years). This is because the function of the clearing is not to be "maintained" but only to provide the initial stimulus for regeneration and release. After a forest is harvested, with the largest trees being removed (all these within the greater than 40 cm class), there is usually a period of thick vegetative growth in the forest understory stimulated by the opening of the canopy. within 5 to 15 years the middle class should have grown to dominante position and begun to again shade the understory strata, supressing the thick growth of weed species. At this point (10 - 15 years after harvest) another clearing should he applied to eliminate weed competition and stimulate new tree growth. Thus, the sustained cutting would start over again (see time-line diagram).
After finishing the clearing of the forest understory you will have easy access to the remaining trees, making this the ideal time to take stock or inventory of what type of trees are inside your woodlot. An inventory will tell you the quality of the trees in each diameter class. Two people taking a 100% inventory (all the trees larger than 1 meter in height are counter) should be able to finish one hectare in less than 2 hours. One person identifying and measuring the diameters and the ether person noting the date on an inventory sheet, make the most efficient team. Length of marketable bole/tree can also be recorded and used later with local volume table to calculate volume of wood/hectare.
A simplified inventory sheet could be used with campesinos to record only the number of trees of each species in each diameter class.
Fig. 68 Hectare #1
L 10 cm dbh
10-40 cm dbh
>40 cm dbh
This is the easiest system and it gives the campesino owner a good idea of the quality of growing stock he has per hectare in each diameter class of his woodlot. During the inventory notes should he taken to indicate forest yaps or other areas where regeneration may or may not be naturally present.
The Enrichment Plantings
From the inventory, it may become evident that the stocking of the lower diameter classes may be so inadequate that complete stocking at maturity (greater than 100 trees/hectare) will not he achieved, or maybe a specific valuable species does not naturally regenerate well and a greater density is desired. In these cases the supplemental plantings of nursery grown seedlings is recommended. "Enrichment plantings" will increase the stocking in the 0-10cm class and up-grade the quality of timber in your woodlot. Two methods of enrichment plantings are employed. One system is the planting of seedlings in systematic rows or lines. A radius of 1 meter is cleared to the bare soil around each plant to eliminate competition.
This system is used when improved stocking is desired, and it assures the even distribution of the plantings throughout the area.
Another system is the planting of individual trees in gaps or large openings under dense canopy where natural regeneration may be lacking. The site situation should determine the species of trees planted (i.e., shade intolerant species planted in forest yaps; shade tolerant species planted in dense shade).
The Selective Harvest
The harvest marks the end of each cutting cycle or management rotation. A "selective" harvest is the removal of all the mature trees of the 40cm class and larger, leaving the 2 smaller diameter classes (less than 10cm and 10-40cm class) to recuperate, grow, and be harvested in the future. It is this way that a forest is managed on a "sustained yield" basis.
"All species harvest" practices are becoming more and more common place in tropical areas as wider uses for second and third class woods are being discovered. One example is the development of "chips" (woodchips) utilization plants for the production of particle board. The practice of all species utilization can mean greater utilization of wood resources and greater earnings for the campesino woodlot owner if the forest is managed on a rotational or sustained yield basis. Also, many light hardwoods generally ignored in today's wood market may come into greater utilization as veneer manufacturing becomes more widespread.
To understand the theory of a selective harvest, it is first necessary to understand the growth rate of a forest tree during its lifetime. The first 60 years are the years of most vigorous growth. After this age, growth takes place very slowly.
While a Lapacho tree may need only 60 years to grow to a size of 60 cm in diameter, to grow another 20 to 80 cm in diameter would require another 50 years. It can be seen that after reaching about 60 cm in diameter most trees begin to lose their economic cost effectiveness. Also, once a tree begins to lose its vigor it also becomes less resistant to insects and disease attacks. An example of this can be seen in the development of heartrot disease in large trees like Yuyra-pyta (Peltophorum dibium). Therefore, trees are scheduled to be harvested when they grow to be 40 to 80 cm in diameter and for this reason, you find very few over mature trees larger than 80 cm in diameter in a well managed woodlot.
Careful consideration is important when selecting trees to be marked for harvest at the end of each cycle. The removal of trees before they reach maturity (in most cases trees smaller than 40 cm in diameter but is very species specific) could result in earnings to future harvest. A few considerations for the selection are:
1. The distinct characteristics of each tree should be considered in each site. For example, a tree of certain characteristics might be removed in one stand, but following the type or condition of the trees of another stand, a tree of the same species might be left to the next harvest.
2. The form and condition of the tree is considered. A tree of poor growth form should be removed before maturity. The opening produced will stimulate new growth.
3. The species of the tree should also be considered because there are great differences between species growth rates and sizes at maturity. For example, a Timbo (Enterolobiur contorlisilquum) of 40cm in diameter is still considered a young tree; left to grow for another 30 years, it would grow to a size of 80 to 90 cm in diameter. But a Lapacho (Tabebuia ipi) of 40 cm in diameter would hardly grow to a size of 60 cm in diameter given another 30 years. Therefore, the Lapacho might be harvested at 40 cm in diameter and the Timbo left for another growth cycle.
4. A few large trees of the valuable species with good growth form should be left in the stand to provide a seed source for future natural regeneration.
Following this basic management program the volunteer conservationist can design a woodlot management plan in a form which will best meet the needs of the campesino landowner in his area and at the same time be preserving a resource that will become increasingly important each year.
Peace Corps Volunteers Robert and Terry
Simeone contributes to this exercise.
EXOTIC vs. INDIGENOUS SPECIES
This issue concerns whether exotic species of trees should be planted in place of indigenous species. Foresters and people around the world are confronted with this question. The decisions made should be based on all available information because they carry long range consequences.
In many countries throughout the world, exotic species are favored over the indigenous species. In some countries, it is an issue over which environmentalists fight as they see the indigenous forests disappearing in favor of exotic species that are more commercially attractive (e.g. Pinus radiate in Australia). Initially, exotic species were transported around the world with the expansion and migration of human populations. Many species were unsuited to their new environments and failed to grow. Others expressed a different phenotype within their new environment. An interesting example of this is Pinus radiate - a species indigenous to Monterey, California. In its indigenous environment, it is a tree of poor form and quality and is considered a non-commercial species. Outside of its indigenous environment, it grows straight and fast in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and in some countries in Latin America. In these countries, Pinus radiate is an important commercial species. Eucalyptus is another interesting example of the use of exotic trees. Eucalyptus is a genus of trees indigenous to Australia and contains over 500 different species. However, within a relatively short period of time, species of the genus have been planted in countries around the world. At the present, there are more Eucalyptus trees growing outside of Australia than within.
Exotic species are favored over indigenous species for a variety of reasons. Economics is probably the main one. Some exotic species simply grow faster and attain commercial value sooner than the local indigenous species. They may be of superior quality for certain products that the indigenous species are not adapted for (i. e., pulp and paper ) . In some cases, exotic species are better suited to the site than the indigenous species. This can occur in areas where the indigenous trees have been cleared years ago through poor agricultural practices and over-grazing of the soil has altered it to the point that it will no longer support the indigenous species. Exotic species can be used in these areas for erosion control and for soil rehabilitation. An example of this is the use of ecualyptus for the control of desertification in some African countries. The scarcity of fuelwood is a major problem in some parts of the world, and it is getting worse each year with expanding populations. The slow growing indigenous species cannot keep up with the demand for fuelwood. The immediate answer may lie in the establishment of woodlots with fast growing exotic species. Also the establishment of exotic fruit and nut trees could improve the diets of the local people and can open up new markets for a cash crop. On an every-day level, throughout the world, exotic trees are used extensively as horticultural species. Many have a high aesthetic value and are found as shade trees around homes and within cities and parks.
On the negative side, when indigenous forests are cut and replaced with exotic species, the resulting forest is basically a desert with respect to the indigenous flora and fauna. The natural ecology of the area is drastically modified. Not only are the indigenous flora and fauna eliminated but the basic chemical composition of the soil is changed. Another point to consider is that most exotics are planted as monocultures and could fall prey to disease or insect attack.
The decision of whether to plant exotic species vs. indigenous species must be based on the specific site and the existing conditions. The pros and cons must be weighed. What are your objectives and what will the long range effects be?
In Summary - There is no easy answer when it comes to deciding whether to use exotic over indigenous species. The decision made must be based on each specific site. What are your objectives and what will the long range consequences be? The trade-offs associated with your decisions must be carefully weighed.
EXOTICS vs. INDIGENOUS - ECUADOR
Ecuador's coastal region stretches north-south, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes chain to the east. The forest types vary from tropical to sub-tropical dry. Certain areas in the coast, most notably Los Rios province, have some of the most fertile soil in the world. Consequently, the region is very rich both in agriculture and forests. There is an extensive variety of indigenous trees in the coastal area. The indigenous species serves a wide variety of purposes and are very important to the Ecuadorian economy. There are two general wood categories, "madera buena" and "madera blanca."
There are numerous high quality madera buena species. Some of these are Cordia alliodora, Laures; Cedrela odorata, Cedro; Tabebuia chrysantha, Guayaium; and Sweitinia sp., Caoba. These species are prized for furniture, parquet floors, and other products requiring a fine, hard wood. Madera blanca is used for building houses and general construction. Ecuador provided 95% of the balsa used by the world before lightweight plastics became popular. Cana guadua is another wood product important to the coastal economy. It is used by the campesinos for cheap construction.
The varied indigenous trees of the coastal region are a rich natural resource. They provide the costanos with the raw material from which an infinite variety of wood products can be manufactured.
In the west where conditions are optimum for growth, fast growing exotic species are sometimes more economically appropriate than indigenous species. In recent years numerous exotic species have been introduced into Ecuador's coastal region. Tectona grandis, (Teca) is a high quality exotic species that is favored over indigenous ones of the same quality because of its rapid growth rate.
Other exotic species of particular interest are the trees of the family Leguminosae. The trees of this family provide a wide range of services to the environment they inhabit. Legumes are nitrogen fixers, their presence greatly improves soil fertility. These trees are extremely swift growers, providing varied wood products in a very short time. Legumes are adaptable to a wide range of site and soil conditions. They reproduce well and are easily cultivated. In addition to this, they are used as ornamentals and for shade. Legumes often provide food for animals (in the form of leaf forage and/or pods), and particular species provide food for human consumption. Legumes have exceptional recommendations for their exploitation in the hospitable environment of the coast. But the economic benefits exotic species provide need to be weighed against the possible deleterious effects of introducing exotic species into a different environment.
Monoculture plantations are one of the easiest methods of exotic species exploitation. When planting in a monoculture certain risks are taken. The introduced species brings with it none of the natural predator controls that exists in its indigenous environment. A pure stand of exotics is susceptible to disease and insect infestation. Insects and diseases can rapidly spread through a pure stand causing considerable damage to the species.
The original forest is often destroyed to make way for the monoculture plantation. Destruction of the indigenous forest can have far-reaching and often little understood effects on the local environment. When the indigenous forest is removed the habitat for many plants and animals is removed with it. In the environment of the sub-tropical and tropical forests, plants and animals have specialized niches. If the forest habitat is destroyed, it often cannot be replaced, and displaced plant and animal life may perish. This in turn may cause other environmental problems, for example, the depletion of certain gene pools. Deforestation is a leading cause of species extinction.
Some exotics are weed species in their natural environment. In a new environment there is potential for unchecked growth, taking over and crowding out ecologically important indigenous species.
Indigenous and exotic species both have an important place in Ecuador's coast. The ramifications of indigenous and exotic species exploitation on the ecology of the coast needs to be given serious consideration. Before decisions determining species use are made, tradeoffs may be necessary for the region's ecology and economy.
EXOTIC vs. INDIGENOUS SPECIES - PARAGUAY
In Paraguay, the forests are being depleted at alarming rates. If these rates continue, it is estimated that within the next fifteen to twenty years, Paraguay will have no indigenous forests remaining. Through this accelerated deforestation, the country will encounter problems such as massive soil erosion, wood scarcity, loss of habitat to local flora and fauna and a lowering of the watertable.
The Servicio Forestal Nacional (SFN) which was formed nearly ten years ago, is aware of the deforestation but is moving slowly in taking steps towards reforestation. Servicio Forestal Nacional is interested in exotic species which grow rapidly. They have planted approximately 5,000 ha of experimental plantations using three exotic species; Araucaria angustifalia (Kiri'y), Pinus alliottii (Slash Pine), and Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine), as well as various species of Eucalyptus. The format used to establish these plantations was based on models used in Brazil and Argentina. Both Brazil and Argentina currently have the market as well as the technology necessary for these types of tree species. however, at present there is no market within Paraguay for the products of these plantations and hopefully, they will be exported to Brazil or Argentina. This in turn creates an economic problem. Paraguay, being landlocked, has a rather underdeveloped transporation system. With exhorbitant prices for fuel, the need to transport timber to outside markets is a costly expenditure. Also, the government has passed a law stating that whole logs cannot he exported To date, this project does not have a very high priority and the plantations have not been efficiently managed. If Paraguay was to build mills for paper or particle board, and carefully manage these plantations, the mature trees could he processed within the country. The plantations then could prove to be valuable. However, without proper management interest, the exotic species that are currently growing will continue to be in poor condition and will have no significant economic value.
On the other hand, the existing indigenous species are very hardy, grow well in their respective sites, and are useful within Paraguay. Most of the indigenous forest species grow rapidly have a high quality wood, and there is a strong market demand for them. They are used for construction purposes, firewood, furniture, ornamentation, etc. Paraguay has the necessary sawmills to reap the economic benefits of indigenous species.
Environmentally, the use of indigenous species in reforestation is a sound measure. Using species which have existed naturally for years, maintains the wide diversity of indigenous flora and fauna. They will also retain the natural soil structure and chemical composition. These indigenous species have been growing in Paraguay for centuries and have achieved a dynamic equilibrium with their environment.
Thus, specifically for Paraguay, future reforestation efforts should concentrate more on the country's existing indigenous species rather than bringing in exotic species, based on economic and environmental reasons.
Peace Corps Volunteers Peter Gould,
Jennifer Alderman, Patrick T. Evans
contributed to the articles on Exotic
vs. Indigenous Species.
Forestry for Community Development
Assuming that most Peace Corps Forestry volunteers will be working with rural, small-scale farmers and small landowners, the forestry volunteer must be conscious of the specific needs and problems that affect the forest and land use of the Third World.
"Forestry for community development must reflect the needs, problems and aspirations of local people as seen through their eyes. To be truly appropriate its strategy will vary according to community and place"1.
1Forestry for Rural Communities. FAO
forestry Department Pg. 8.
If the volunteer is to be a catalyst for judicious forest and land management in his or her community, he/she rust consider a number of critical factors.
The volunteer can teach simple methods of forest and land management to rural land owners. In this way, the campesino can determine his own land resources and assess the results of reforestation projects or other remedial measures on his land. Forest inventory is also necessary if the volunteer or other extension agent is to determine the extent of deforestation in the area.
The volunteer must stress the needs for the complete evaluation of rural lands, so that the campesino can learn to determine what would be the most appropriate uses of his land. A relatively simple land evaluation could prevent forested areas from being cleared for livestock grazing or other agricultural activities when the land is inappropriate for those purposes.
The campesino must learn to consider soil quality and type, topography, land fragility, flora, fauna, water resources, and local cultural factors, such as economic conditions and pressures which are affecting him. It is important that the volunteer impresses upon the rural farmer the number of options from which he may be able to choose. Depending upon the land characteristics, forest resources, and local socio-economic conditions, the land may be used for intensive agriculture, grazing, forest plantations, agro-forestry, multiple-use systems, mining, parks, wildlife, refuges, ecological reserves and other uses.
Several factors may affect the volunteer's success at promoting proper land use. Local professionals (land use planners, etc.) must be willing to act as resources to rural campesinos and apply their techniques in the field. It is important that local administrative agencies are effective in ensuring that land is actually allocated and used appropriately. Incentives are needed initially to stimulate proper land use. Most important, and perhaps most difficult is acquiring the acceptance and commitment of the members of the rural community.
The forestry volunteer must stress the importance of protecting and conserving the existing soils and watershed systems which are so critical to the livelihood of rural farmers. The campesino must be aware of the need for protective measures against slope erosion, the detrimental effects of wind on deforested or semi-arid areas, and the problems created by stream siltation, reservoir sedimentation, and torrential water flow in steep, mountainous areas.
The volunteer should promote soil conservation techniques that can utilize and be combined with the growing of crops and trees and the production of other valuable resources. In this way, the rural farmer can keep his land under production and protect it at the same time. In semi-arid and arid regions, the PCV can instruct farmers in the construction of shelter hefts and other structures that can stabilize sand dunes, which if left unchecked, would inundate agricultural areas.
One hectare of tropical forest may contain as many as 100 tree species, but only a small number are now exploited for commercial use. With such a low density of commercial species, there has been very little economic stimulus for sustained management of tropical forest areas.
Thus, it is important for the tropical forestry volunteer to introduce techniques for managing and more efficiently utilizing tropical forest stands. He or she can teach simple criteria for selecting crop trees for exploitation, control measures for unwanted vegetation, insects, and plant pathogens; principles of seed selection and storage, and methods of reforestation. The campesino must be encouraged to use harvesting techniques that protect remaining trees and enhance forest regeneration.
Because many, if not most, rural communities face very marginal economic situations, it is critical that the volunteer promotes proper management techniques and better utilization of forest resources in order to realize more of the economic potential of the forest. The campesino must be made aware of the value of many non-traditional forest species.
If forest resources are to be conserved and/or restored, carefully developed site-specific reforestation plans must be implemented.
The volunteer must be aware that it may not be possible or desirable to restore the original tree and plant species to a given area. It may be more judicious to introduce species that are known to grow rapidly and reliably.
The selected reforestation species must be well suited to the local ecological conditions. Reforestation will fail if the introduced species cannot adapt to the soil, water, climatic or other environmental factors critical to its survival.
The PCV should teach the campesino proper seedling care and other measures necessary to ensure successful reforestation (proper pruning, etc.). Nursery management, seed collection, storage, and treatment; seedling transport, care and planting techniques are all skills that the volunteer can transfer to the campesino so that he can independently sustain reforestation on his own land.
The campesino should be encouraged to reforest with trees that serve multi-purpose. He should be made aware that a reforestation system that not only controls wind and water erosion, but also provides food, animal fodder, fuel, and wood products such as lumber and pulpwood is not only desirable, but possible.
The method of reforestation involves the establishment of managed tree plantations of one or more species. Such a system could provide fuel and timber, and relieve the exploitation pressures on the natural forests in the area. Research has shown that a successful tropical plantation could supply 4-10 times the amount of usable wood produced in the natural tropical forest. Plantations could also be labor-intensive and serve as an economic stimulus in high unemployment areas.
However, the forestry volunteer must examine the situation very carefully before he or she proposes a monoculture plantation for a rural community. The specific sensitivities of the proposed species to the site and climate must be determined beforehand. The clearing of a natural forest in order to make way for a plantation is not recommended because the conversion of a very diverse forest to a monoculture could potentially create an ecosystem highly susceptible to disease and insect infestation. It could be a catalyst for soil deterioration and consequently other ecological and socio-economic problems.
It is especially valuable for the forestry PCV to teach the rural farmer methods of conserving the forestry and land resources which he has. It is critical that the campesino learns how to reduce heat losses during firewood burning, as well as methods of cutting waste and tree loss during forestry and wood-processing operations.
Rural families must be made aware of the inefficiency of heating and cooking, using open fires as compared to contained heating units. stoves could be designed much more efficiently and still remain simple. The Lorena stove is one example of a much more efficient heating device that could be built and used by rural families. Many traditional wood and charcoal burning systems in use today have heat losses that approach 60%. Charcoal should he discouraged as a fuel because a great deal of heat energy is lost during the conversion of wood to charcoal.
The campesino must be encouraged to reduce his waste during timber harvesting. The selective exploitation of only a few species frequently leaves residual trees damaged. Much wood is wasted when the tree limbs and tops are cut off and left to rot in the forest.
The volunteer should be aware that an all-species rather than selective harvesting could cause deforestation and lead to more traumatic effects on the environment than traditional, selective harvesting. However, if properly managed, a system involving clear cutting, and all-species harvesting, combined with well-managed reforestation, could meet a community's wood needs, while reducing the exploitation pressures on remaining forests.
Because so much wood waste occurs during processing at sawmills, the volunteer must promote the use of improved technologies (where affordable), to reduce wood losses during milling and other wood-processing operations. The use of the entire tree should be encouraged.
By demonstrating better transport and storage methods for rough logs and lumber, the PCV can show the campesino how he can cut his losses due to mold, stains, insects, splitting, decay, improper drying methods, and mechanical damage caused by poor handling methods.
By introducing methods of wood preservation, the volunteer can teach a community how to prolong the life of wood products such as telephone poles (where applicable), fences, stakes, etc. Better preservation of lower quality woods would reduce the demand for more durable woods for these purposes. Consequently, the higher quality woods could be saved for more critical uses.
In agricultural areas, the forestry volunteer should promote agro-forestry practices as a means of making the land more productive, and conserving its resources at the same time. The campesino should be made aware that by planting trees together with food crops, or by rotating trees and crops he can maintain his land in a constantly productive state, without draining or destroying the land's productivity.
Successful agro-forestry systems can reduce the need for forest removal in two ways. It will eliminate the need for shifting cultivation (which usually entails more deforestation), because land that is utilizing agro-forestry should remain productive. It will reduce the need for more clearing of forests in order to increase food production. A well planned agroforestry system should enable a rural family to the self-sufficient in the basic food, fuel, and lumber needs.
To meet better a rural community's lumber and energy needs, the forestry volunteer can organize the establishment of a community woodlot. This will require a major effort in community organization by the volunteer. The people themselves must feel the need for the woodlot. There must be strong public support of the project, and a community-wide willingness to share in the planning, establishment, maintenance, and benefits of the woodlot. without this popular support, a community woodlot will have little chance for success.
Changes in the attitude and habits of local government officials may be needed as well. It may be difficult for these officials to accept the idea of a community taking the initiative and organizing a major project themselves. The PCV should always be conscious of the political problems that are involved.
The forestry volunteer can reduce deforestation for fuel purposes by introducing simple, low cost energy alternatives to his or her community. Solar, wind, big-gas, and mini-hydropower may all be possible depending on the specific conditions at the site. Such energy systems would greatly increase a campesino's self-sufficiency, and greatly reduce his need for firewood. For example, solar dryers could be used for agricultural products such as grain, meat, fish, and tobacco, instead of depleting the local wood supply for fuel.
By showing the vast quantities of resources in the forest other than wood, the PCV may be able to convince the rural farmer that it makes poor economic sense to cut down the forest. The economic value of forest fruits, nuts, herbs, aquatic and terrestrial animals should be highly publicized.
Since many forestry volunteers may be in extensive livestock areas, it is important that the PCV be aware of the factors involved in managing a range to ensure conservation of the range resources as well as maximum livestock production. The campesino must be made aware that if he desires a sustained yield of livestock over a long period of time, he must consider several factors.
1. The selection of the most suitable kind of livestock for the land available.
2. The recognition of the proper seasons of grazing.
3. The degree of range use, including the proper distribution of animals over the range.
4. Available water resources for animals.
5. Protection of livestock from illness or injury.
6. Available forage crops. Livestock production can only be sustained by conservation use of forage crops.
Changes in the forest environment may have a significant effect on wildlife habitats. Thus, the Peace Corps forester may find himself working in wildlife management as well.
In order to manage a forest judiciously for its wildlife resources, as well as its timber and land productivity, the forester must be able to recognize the wildlife species present, their populations, and understand their life histories. This knowledge will enable the Peace Corps volunteer, or the campesino to determine what forest practices improve the environment for wildlife and what activities disturb it. For wildlife production and protection, the rural farmer needs to know the positive and negative effects to aquatic and terrestrial animals of such practices as pruning, clearing, thinning, and timber cutting.
The forestry volunteer may find that the most difficult part of his or her work will not be in actual physical labor, but rather, in extension. The volunteer may have to overcome a great deal of cultural and social resistance before successfully convincing the members of the rural community of the need for planting trees, and proper land management.
The volunteer can use intellectual and economic arguments to make his case. He can demonstrate that an early and continued harvest is possible with integrated (forestry and agriculture) production techniques. The PCV can compare the income potential of tree planting with other uses. Often tree planting requires less capital and can be as fast an income producer as certain agricultural crops or livestock. It may require three to five years for a farmer to realize a profit on a new cattle herd.
The campesino should know that trees can be security in old age. By performing the physical labor when young, he can be assured of a good income to provide for his old age. It should he pointed out to rural farmers that while few people plant trees, those who do usually realize a very good profit.
The volunteer can also use a more personal approach to extension. He or she can emphasize to the campesino that in several years, his children will be attending school. Trees planted now can pay for his children's education.
The volunteer can ask the rural farmer directly what provisions he has made for his old age? What will he do if he or his family is ill and needs medicine but has no income with which to pay? Trees planted now would provide some insurance against such a situation.
Every volunteer will have a different personal style for extension. The only correct method is the method which works well for you and for the community in which you are working. The volunteer should carefully consider what style and approach will achieve the most success in his or her community.
Peace Corps Volunteer Daniel
Saxon contributed this article.
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