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It was suggested earlier that when a forestry initiative is described as having run into a "tenure problem," what is really being said is that the project was not properly designed for its socio-economic environment. This paper has emphasized the need to take tenure into account. The tenure diversity which often exists so abundantly within a given community--the three types of tenure niches and all the particular niches within those broad types--represent opportunities. Our list of tenure niches, it has been suggested, should be seen as a tenure "menu" (Murray 1987: 328), a smorgasbord from which one can pick a tenure niche suited for a forestry initiative which meets our objectives. This selectivity applies to tree tenure as well as land tenure, and a project may prefer one candidate species over another because of the tenure rights recognized in that species. The excerpt from Chavangi et al. which follows indicates how a project in Kenya has targeted women as beneficiaries through species selection. This author suspects that few intractable tenure problems would assert themselves if there were, from the beginning, a "dialogue" between the local land tenure system and the forestry technologies considered.

How far can one understand these tenure issues in a rapid appraisal? As noted earlier, it will vary with the length of the appraisal, the previous experience of team members in the locale, the available literature on local tenure, and the ability of team members in the local language. The procedures suggested are not very demanding in terms of time: several small group and key informant interviews at the outset, a half-dozen or a dozen household interviews, and a return to key informants for clarification. At a minimun, an appraisal team can identify opportunities and potential problems related to tenure. However, the team will usually be less able to gauge with confidence whether a given tenure factor will have a minor or major impact on the initiative. It will be possible to get hypothesized tenure strategies but these will need further study before implementation. Further investigation is likely to be necessary, and the appraiser must in this case urge longer, more intensive research to flesh out tenure strategies and test their viability.

What is meant by a "tenure strategy"? Forestry initiatives need to have strategies about how tenure can accommodate or generate incentives for tree planting. In an excerpt which follows, Raintree proposes a phased approach to the introduction of agroforestry to accommodate what is likely to be gradual change in tenure patterns. Thomson (1987: 216) suggests that such a strategy may not necessarily involve providing a solution, but_ instead "offering local resource users a series of options regarding the kinds of organizational structure and legal. regimes they might adopt in order to acquire greater control over their local resources," and then monitoring progress under the various options.

Gender and the Choice of Tree Species

Given that fuelwood has always been the women's responsibility, a situation needs to be created in which men, if they actually help their wives to obtain fuelwood or allow them to plant trees, will not be subject to the ridicule of other men in the village. This can only come about if the community at large is made aware of the extent of the overall problem, and is fully involved in formulating and implementing a solution from the outset.

The trees normally planted by men on the farms are exotic species such as eucalyptus, which have many uses, but take many years to mature. One avenue that is being explored is based on the observation that some species, particularly Sesbania sesban, are not considered to be trees by either men or women. Sesbania is already intercropped with food crops by women in a few parts of the district to improve soil fertility. Since it is not regarded as a tree, and so women cannot claim ownership to land through it, then the men do not see it as a threat to their standing in the community. The KWDP [Kenya Woodfuel Development Programme] is developing this line of approach, by introducing similar tree species that can serve the same purpose, but which bypass the cultural blockages. . . .

Both men and women agree that to plant trees that will be used solely for fuelwood would be impractical, for several reasons. Men will not tolerate a situation in which their wives have sole access to the trees, and in any case many farms are far too small to support a woodlot of women's fuelwood trees in addition to the trees the men already raise for other purposes. The problem is therefore being approached from several angles simultaneously. The suitable species identified by the KWDP agroforesters (Sesbania, Leucanea, Calliandra, Mimosa) have many advantages: they have no traditional connotations, they grow very quickly, allow for close planting, they can provide animal fodder, act as windbreaks, improve soil fertility and help prevent erosion, in addition to providing a continuous source of high-quality fuelwood. One potential drawback of Mimosa, however, is that its stems are tall and straight, making them ideal building poles so that they might be monopolized by the men, but even this could be turned to advantage if all four species are marketed as a package that can within a very short period of time provide a significant contribution to the total needs of the household in relation to wood.

Noel A. Chavangi, Rutger J. Engelhard, and Valorie Jones, "Culture as the Basis for Implementation of Self-Sustaining Woodfuel Development Programmes," in Whose Trees?: Proprietary Dimensions of Forestry, eds. L. Fortmann and J.W. Bruce (Boulder: Westview Press, 1988), at p. 251.

A Phased Approach to Agroforestry to Avoid Tenure Issues

Raintree examines the difficulties of introducing alley-cropping into shifting cultivation patterns where local communities or lineages maintain strong rights over allocation of land. He goes on:

For these reasons, and for reasons associated with the relatively higher labour requirements of the practice (as compared to planted fallows), intensive alley cropping systems are not likely to become very attractive to farmers until the short fallow or permanent cultivation states (3 and 4) of the intensification sequence, when ecological demands and tenure adjustments make it necessary and possible. Again, providing the system is not abused as a way of grabbing excessive amounts of land, supportive tenure adjustments would seem justified.

One way of effecting a smooth adjustment of agroecological and tenure factors associated with alley cropping would be to take a phased approach to the adoption of the system, based on the concept of an "optimal pathway of intensification" (Raintree 1980, V°3, FAO 1984, Raintree and Warner 1985). Starting with a fallow. enrichment approach at Stage 2, tree species could be introduced which have both economic and biological fallow improving properties. By planting the selected trees in hedgerows at appropriate between-row spacing (which could be adjusted for effective erosion control on sloping lands), the way would be clear for an intensification of the fallow practice into semi-permanent or permanent alley cropping at Stages 3 and 4. As a final measure of intensification, undertaken under conditions of very high population pressure by the children or grandchildren of the original shifting cultivators, the installed "green manure factories" could be maintained in place and a variety of economically valuable upperstorey trees could be added to the system. In this last phase of intensification the system might come to resemble the architectural complexity and economic efficiency of the multistorey home garden, so often found in densely settled areas of the tropics.

John B. Raintree, "Agroforestry, Tropical Land Use and Tenure," Background Paper for the International Workshop on Tenure Issues in Agroforestry, Nairobi, May 27-31, 1985, at p. 33.

What will usually not be useful is to propose legislation to alter the tenure system concerned. National legislation is unlikely to be possible in time to affect the project. The assurance in a project proposal that "government is formulating legislation to deal with this problem" is usually an empty promise. Nor is the development of national tenure policy well served if it is driven by too narrow a set of concerns, as from a particular project. There are, however, possibilities for more localized tenure change:

1. COMMUNITY LEGISLATION. There is a prevalent misconception of "customary" rules as being deeply internalized, observed by ancestors from "time out of mind." It is often believed that such rules change only through what might be called "snowballing deviance," in which particular instances of deviance eventually become pervasive and are recognized as the new custom. But "traditional" communities also legislate, acting purposefully to change rules to meet new circumstances. Projects can encourage such change in several ways, including preferential treatment of those communities which have taken the desired steps.

2. CONTRACTS. Because projects have benefits to offer, they can sometimes be traded for changes in land tenure arrangements. Contracts can be used as a tool for regulating tenure arrangements between groups or individuals, or between the project and groups or individuals.

3. PROJECT ECONOMIC LEVERAGE. Projects can affect behavior with economic leverage exerted through preferences, subsidies and a wide range of other actions, used independently or in connection with community legislation and contracts. Such leverage should not be used, however, to create incentives which will disappear when the project is over.

4. "THE LAND LAW OF THE PROJECT". Where projects are to be created on state-owned or appropriated land, as in many settlement schemes, the state creates a land tenure system for project beneficiaries as it defines the terms of their access to land. This is a challenging task under any circumstances, and such authority needs to be used with great restraint when working with communities long-established in a project area.

It must be emphasized in conclusion, however, that a rapid appraisal is not normally an appropriate vehicle for the development of such strategies beyond the hypothesis stage. This is social engineering and as such, needs to be approached with humility and caution. To devise viable strategies along these lines requires a greater knowledge of the local socio-legal system and processes than can realistically be obtained during a rapid appraisal. The critical task will in most cases be not the adjustment of the tenure arrangements but utilization of the information gathered in the appraisal to design a forestry technology appropriate to the community and its tenure patterns. By technology design here is meant not just species selection, but species use projections and integration into the farming system. This is an interactive process between potential groups of beneficiaries, their tenure and other incentives and opportunities, and the candidate forestry technologies. There are important policy decisions, value-laden decisions, involved in this process. They can be difficult even with the best of information. This is an interactive process that will proceed as the project progresses. While farmers will ultimately decide how they will employ the forestry technologies concerned, it is the responsibility of project designers to ensure that the technologies are offered in ways which facilitate rather than obstruct their adoption.

The Methodology in Outline



Interaction: Socio-Economics and Candidate Technologies

Further Reading

For those who wish to pursue further the relationship between tenure and forestry, the items in the inserts of this paper give a sampling of some of the more relevant work. In 1984 the International Council for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the Land Tenure Center of the University of Wisconsin collaborated on an annotated bibliography and then on a workshop. Most recently, a book of readings pulls together a large number of the more important sources.

    1. Louise Fortmann and James Riddell, 1985, Trees and Tenure: An Annotated Bibliography for Foresters and Others (Madison and Nairobi: Land Tenure Center and International Council for Research in Agroforestry).

    2. John Raintree (ed.), 1987, Land, Trees and Tenure (Madison and Nairobi: Land Tenure Center and International Council for Research in Agroforestry).

    3. Louise Fortmann and John W. Bruce (eds.), 1988, Whose Trees? Proprietary Dimensions of Forestry (Boulder: Westview Press).

The references at the end of this paper provide a broader range of readings.


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