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Complementary uses of forest resources

Women and men make very different uses forest resources -even, in many cases, of sing] species of tree. The uses made of palm trees in Pananao, in the Central Mountains of Dominica, illustrate the different, and sometime conflicting, roles played by women and men in the exploitation of an important resource.

In Pananao, the control of, responsibility for, an labour involved in exploiting the palm tree var according to the parts of the tree being uses men use the wood for construction, women us the fibre in handicrafts, and both men an women use the tree's products for anima fodder. Furthermore, the division of control, responsibility and labour shifts with place an activity: near the homestead, only women are involved and on pasture land men exercise a three functions exclusively but for the collection of fuelwood: the divisions are mixed on cropland, where women contribute labour, and on forest `remnants'- areas of previously over-exploited forest- where women are given responsibility for the trees and provide the labour but men have control of the resource.

However, women control all processing activities even though they do not manage the source areas of the raw materials they need, many of which come from the men's fields, pastures and woodlands. As a result, cassava bread enterprises have been curtailed by a shortage of fuelwood, and women's handicrafts suffer from a shortage of materials (palm fronds) when men fell the palms for cash.

Forestry projects must therefore analyse the roles played by men and women in the exploitation of forest products if the interests of all groups of users are to be met.

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