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close this bookReversing the Spiral - The Population, Agriculture, and Environment Nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa (WB, 1994, 320 p.)
close this folder10. Managing the natural resource base
View the documentProduction versus protection
View the documentForests
View the documentNatural resource management in farming areas
View the documentDryland and range areas
View the documentWater
View the documentCommon elements
View the documentThe role of governments
View the documentNational environmental action plans

Natural resource management in farming areas

Since much farming takes place within forest areas, there is not always clear distinction between forest areas and farming areas In large areas throughout Sub Saharan Africa, forests have been almost totally replaced by farms In these areas, the primary role of governments in natural resource management should be effective planning of land and water resource use. Even in areas predominately used for farming, land must still be allocated for various uses such as settlements, service and infrastructure facilities, parks and forests, grazing land and cropland, areas to be protected (watershed headlands' wetlands, water bodies), and so forth. Land use planning will need to take into account the important tradeoffs among these venous uses. Land use and management plans for farming areas should be prepared in a collaborative manner, with the active participation of the local communities. They will need to cover such issues as watershed management, locally appropriate improved farming and livestock husbandry practices, farm tree planting, irrigation and drainage' domestic water supply and use, and the location of physical infrastructure.

Actual resource management and conservation in such areas will be almost entirely in the hands of the local farmers and livestock owners.

Box 10-2 A New Forest Policy in Cote d'Ivoire

In Cote d'Ivoire, about 12 million ha of tropical forest land have been lost during this century. To arrest this destruction, the government has begun to implement a number of the recommendations set out here. Wildlife and biodiversity would be conserved in parks covering 1.9 million ha, of which 600,000 ha are tropical forests. Sustainable wood production would be achieved through better management of production forests (all of which are secondary forests, previously logged), expansion of hardwood plantations, and assistance to farmers induced to resettle outside the forests.

This process began with detailed land use plans for existing "gazetted" forests' which belong to the government These plans designate specific tracts for protection, logging farming, and other uses. Park areas have already been delimited and are to be fully protected. In those areas that have been previously logged over and are to remain production forests, logging companies are receiving long-term concessions in accordance with detailed forest resource management plans and under governmental supervision. Loggers judged unable or unwilling to participate are not permitted to log. Taxes on logs have been increased, and concessions are auctioned to the highest qualified bidders. This is helping to eliminate the least efficient loggers In effect, forests will no longer be treated as a virtually free good, but as a valuable resource, requiring high payment by loggers for exploitation. Intact primary forests are in parks and will not be logged at all.

Farmers are given Incentives to leave those areas that are environmentally delicate or should be managed for logging. The key incentives are ownership titled for land outside these areas and access to agricultural inputs. Agricultural extension staff will provide technical advice to resettled farmers. No support services will be provided to farmers remaining in the forests. There will, however, be no coercion to move; the incentives are expected to be sufficiently persuasive to induce voluntary exit from the park and logging areas. Traditional forest dwellers will be allowed to remain in the forests; so would settlers in areas already so heavily encroached upon that forests have essentially disappeared. Government institutions in the forest sector will be strengthened to focus more on conservation and resource management, rather than on servicing the logging industry.

This new forestry policy fits into abrader national strategy for natural resource conservation, which includes accelerating agricultural intensification and improving land tenure security.

A major issue now is the need for an effective consultative process between farmers, forest dwellers, and the government Such a process has been initiated in the form of local-level forest-farmer commissions for each forest, which will decide on resettlement questions as well as on other disputes between the government, traditional forest dwellers, and farmers who have settled in the forests. A second issue is land ownership. The government would continue to own the land in the gazetted forest areas, but would share the royalties with local populations to induce their support for the new policy.

The example of Machakos District in Kenya demonstrates that this works (see pp. 158-159). It will be essential to ensure tenurial security if there is to be significant private investment in land conservation and productivity enhancement. The agricultural research and extension systems will be the major governmental instruments for supporting farmers and private industry in managing the natural resources in farming areas.