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Chapter 4 Guiding principles for FMPs for collective forest managers

Having examined and described some of the experiences with FMPs for livelihood-oriented forest management, small-scale forest enterprises and privately owned forests in Chapter 3, this chapter presents some suggested broad guiding principles for FMPs applicable to a range of situations in collective forest management. The guiding principles are aimed at promoting the concept of “simpler” FMPs (as outlined in section 3.1) bearing in mind that the level of simplification both necessary and possible will vary according to local circumstances and the type of forest management being carried out.

4.1 Overall conclusions

Analysis of FMPs in use across a range of developing countries has indicated the following broad conclusions:

4.1.1 FMPs for livelihood-oriented forest management

In this type of forest management by collective forest managers, a high level of simplification of FMPs is necessary and in many cases has been shown to be possible. However, a major constraint to developing this approach in many countries is prescriptive and often inappropriate legislation which, whilst often advocating a policy of collective forest management for rural livelihoods, frequently places unrealistic and unnecessary burdens on forest managers (the CFMs) for FMP preparation – the legislation often failing to distinguish this type of forest management from a more commercially oriented forest enterprise.

4.1.2 FMPs for enterprise-oriented forest management

For this type of forest management by CFMs there appears to be considerably less experience with developing simpler FMPs, even though these would be of considerable benefit to CFMs. In practice, the level of simplification for these types of FMP may not need to be as great as that for livelihood-oriented forest management. A major constraint is again the legislation, which in the case of enterprise-oriented forest management is often more prescriptive than that affecting subsistence use. However, there are also other problems including a lack of attention given to the business planning side of forest-based enterprises and the predominance of traditional forest inventory and mensuration techniques (time consuming, expensive and incomprehensible to many CFMs) without a more adaptive approach to developing alternative systems which can more easily be handled by CFMs.

4.1.3 FMPs for small-scale private forest management

For forest management for private small-scale forest enterprises there have been some innovative and constructive developments which have successfully allowed very simple FMPs to be developed and implemented. In this case, restrictive legislation appears to have been less of a constraint – possibly because the scale of such operations is normally very small, and because there is often a perceived need to stimulate and encourage forest management on private lands as a means of conserving forests on public or communally-owned land. There are some lessons from this situation which could be usefully applied to enterprise-oriented forest management FMPs for CFMs.

4.1.4 Regional variations

There are also some regional differences which have been noted during the collation of materials for this study:

In Latin America, whilst the majority of the countries have made legal provision for “simpler” FMPs for individual forest owners there are far fewer examples of provisions specifically adapted for forests under collective management. In Africa and Asia, the concept of “simpler” FMPs tends to relate more to livelihood-oriented forest management whilst FMPs for small-scale forest enterprises by CFMs are still based largely on regulations pertaining to larger-scale commercial logging and therefore remain too complicated for such CFMs to prepare and implement.

4.1.5 Simpler FMPs for livelihood-oriented or enterprise-oriented forest management?

It is evident from the analysis of many styles and formats of FMPs for CFMs from around the world that there has been much more success with developing simpler and more appropriate FMPs for forest areas being managed under a set of livelihood-oriented forest management objectives than as commercial forest enterprises.

In many ways, this is not surprising. The history of participatory forestry in many countries has been one where local control of government forests has been readily given over to CFMs proving that the forests themselves are either too degraded, lacking in commercial timber species, or too remote for commercial timber harvesting. As a result, it is in such forests, that experiences with simpler FMPs have developed. It has not been difficult to make the case for simpler FMPs where management of a forest resource is unlikely to generate much beyond subsistence forest products. In many countries the shift was one from no management and no FMP at all to basic management with a simple FMP developed by CFMs – clearly an improvement.

In many countries, this situation is now changing. Firstly, positive experiences with collective forest management of various types has prompted a shift away from only the most degraded forests to those where tree cover is still more or less intact and where potential for commercial timber harvesting is a reality (e.g. the changing scene for joint forest management in India79). In other places, such as Nepal, the success of community forestry in terms of improvements in forest condition after a decade under community management, has increased the potential for forest use beyond simply subsistence bringing the focus more onto potential for enterprise-oriented forestry. Finally, more recent policy focus on collective forest management as a means of improving rural livelihoods (and in some countries more specifically on reducing levels of rural poverty) has stimulated more interest in forests as a source of income, employment and sustainable livelihoods implying a use of forests beyond that solely for subsistence.

The distinctions between livelihoods-oriented and enterprise-oriented forest management and their respective requirements for simpler FMPs are therefore somewhat blurred. At this stage, an important goal to aim for is to try to incorporate within enterprise-oriented forest management the positive lessons learnt from developing simpler FMPs for livelihoods-oriented forestry rather than continuing to distinguish and separate out these two types of management. Management objectives; forest conditions; capacities and needs of CFMs; and the range of forest products being utilized vary from forest to forest. FMPs need to encompass these local variations in an appropriate and practical way. The broad guiding principles developed here therefore apply to all collective forest management situations regardless of management objectives.

4.2 The four functions of forest management plans for collective management

Before identifying some of the broad principles which can be used for supporting and promoting simpler FMPs for CFMs, it is important to distinguish the four main functions of FMPs in these situations. These can be expressed by considering a FMP as:

1. An output of an interactive learning, capacity-building and negotiation process

2. A technical guide for management planning, implementation and monitoring

3. A legally required document

4. An instrument to describe and regulate local forest governance80 based on multi-stakeholder agreements

The guiding principles for simpler FMPs for CFMs are developed and described in terms of these 4 main functions. The actual format of a FMP will depend on the local situation. It may therefore be necessary to give different emphasis to each of these 4 FMP functions under different situations. For example, FMPs for livelihoods-oriented collective forest management need to include a means to regulate local forest governance and decision-making whilst FMPs for individual small-scale forest owners are often more closely related to business plans. FMPs for community-based forest enterprises need to have both of these functions. Consequently, there can be no blueprint for simpler FMPs for CFMs and these principles are merely intended as guidelines.

4.3 FMPs as the output of an iterative learning, capacity-building and negotiation processes

4.3.1 Provide support for capacity building and negotiation during a graduated planning process

FMPs cannot be prepared only through a one-off series of PRA81 exercises or planning meetings. In most situations CFMs in developing countries have a limited capacity in technical forestry, literacy and numeracy. Therefore capacity-building is an essential part of the FMP preparation process to ensure that they understand and agree with the final FMP. This will invariably take some time since every step in such a process builds on previous steps – thus slowly building capacity.

FMPs for CFM also has an important function as a negotiation process during which primary stakeholders consolidate appropriate local forest governance mechanisms (see also section 4.6). Again, a step-wise process is needed to do this. Normally a planning process for an FMP for a forest area to be managed under a livelihood-oriented system can be expected to take months rather than weeks to complete.

A structured planning process is also needed build mutual trust and confidence with other local institutions and to reach consensus on broader local forest governance (also see section 4.6). A good example of this is the formal provision for capacity building during the probationary period for community forestry in Gambia and Tanzania.

Accountability mechanisms and check and balance systems in the local forest management framework should also be defined as part of the FMP. Negotiation amongst stakeholders on these issues is another part of the planning process i.e. negotiation should not take place after the period of the FMP has already started, but during its preparation, and following a sufficient period of capacity building and learning amongst CFMs.

4.3.2 Ensure that the planning process is in the hands of the local collective forest managers

Although there may often be a temptation amongst forest service staff to drive the FMP preparation process forward in order to save time and to achieve targets, it is important to ensure that this type of pressure does not take the process completely out of the hands of the CFMs. The danger is that capacity building will be reduced, and understanding, negotiation and agreement will be lessened with the result that problems will appear later – probably during implementation of the FMP, and will normally require additional resources amongst support services to address them.

4.3.3 Ensure that FMPs are objective-led

The FMP preparation process needs to include a series of steps which link local problems and/or opportunities with management objectives and forest management activities. This will allow FMPs to be produced where (a) they are addressing genuine local needs and priorities as identified by CFMs, and (b) where implementation of the FMP will lead to achievement of identified management objectives. A methodology to do this is already available (e.g. logical framework methodology based on problem analysis) although it is very likely that support staff will need development of their skills to enable them to facilitate this process effectively.

4.3.4 Provide multi-faceted service delivery for the FMP preparation processes

Frontline staff from forestry services need to widen the scope of their service delivery in order to better cover the varied aspects which are needed in relation to participatory and community forestry. Often this can be better done through designing service delivery structures which are cross-sectoral rather than limited to a particular government department (traditionally forest departments).

Many countries (e.g. India) are now using a “watershed” approach to provide needs-based services to rural people implying a considerable degree of collaboration and shared working. Usually this covers aspects for support for village-based forest management. In some districts of Nepal82 there have been successes with the concept of “service providers” who provide a range of services to forest user groups “on demand”. Service providers can include local NGOs, professional associations (e.g. forest rangers’ associations); forest user groups themselves, or federations of forest users groups. Similarly, in the Philippines, an NGO is contracted by the Government to act as an intermediary to strengthen the capacity of a local groups, train them in accounting procedures and assist them in becoming established as a legal entity83. The NGO shoulders the requirements of a legal entity on behalf of the CFMs during the capacity-building period and thus reduces the task of the formal registration process. Eventually it can be expected that this type of system will become self-supporting as CFMs begin to pay for the services they really need.

4.3.5 Build skills amongst front-line staff and local people

There are varying skill levels amongst frontline staff of government forestry services. Unfortunately, traditional forestry training often still does not include the social and communications skills which are extremely important in order to facilitate and support participatory processes. Often it is difficult for CFMs to seek out and identify the assistance they really need from forestry extension services because of this lack of capacity (Malla et al, 2002) – Box 11.

As a general principle, any financial resources available for frontline activities within such government services are more effectively used by improving service delivery to CFMs through training, capacity building and information management at the frontline, rather than for preparation and implementation of overly detailed FMPs.

4.3.6 Emphasise the importance of social agreements amongst local forest user groups and other institutions before addressing “technical” forestry issues

If an FMP is to be prepared through a process of participation or stakeholder involvement, the first question to ask is “Who should participate?”. This can only be answered by carrying out a stakeholder analysis with the CFMs to ensure that all interest groups are identified and that a means of involving all those who need to be involved is identified. With livelihoods-oriented FMPs, this is often carried out, but for enterprise-oriented forest management where the planning emphasis is more frequently on the technical aspects of silviculture, harvesting and utilization it is frequently missing. However, stakeholder analysis is a critical step for all these plans to ensure that each stakeholder’s roles, responsibilities, rights and returns/benefits are defined84 . For small-scale private forest enterprises the issue of stakeholders is less important – normally the forest owner is the most important.

4.4 FMPs as technical guides for management planning, implementation and monitoring

4.4.1 Use “minimum environmental standards” as a guide for forest management activities

As an alternative to a highly prescriptive and complex FMP preparation system, the “minimum environmental standards” approach may be a suitable alternative. Ribot (2001 draft) argues that the “subsidiarity principle” which states that decisions should be located at the lowest political-administrative level for decentralized natural resource management could be effectively applied with this approach. This would imply a relatively simple plan, with decisions being made by the CFMs against a clear set of environmental and social standards (or Criteria and Indicators). Actions which contravene these standards would not be permitted by the CFMs – the assumption being that they are themselves in control of the resource and can control use by outsiders. Flexible resource use by CFMs would not need to be excessively controlled provided that it adheres to the minimum environmental standards as defined in the legislation. Appropriate training and extension services on reduced-impact harvesting of forest products may be needed as a prerequisite for implementing such a system.

The use of simple environmental standards in place of a highly elaborated FMPs is not a new concept. Autonomous collective forest use and management systems are usually regulated by similar simple environmental norms, in addition to social codes of conduct (e.g. benefit- and responsibility-sharing arrangements). These norms are sufficient for the purposes of achieving sustainable forest management, as long as the authority in charge of enforcement is strong enough.

4.4.2 Allow management standards to be set and agreed by CFMs

Forest management standards and obligations set by central government often exceed the minimum requirements for sustainable forestry, and have often been used as means of maintain or increasing state control over forests. In practice, the potential for local discretion in relation to national mandates for natural resource management is often greater than many environmental ministries are typically willing to admit (Kaimowitz and Ribot, 2002) and local knowledge and social assets (e.g. trust, local institutions) are often sufficient to begin to work towards sustainable forest management. Self-imposed local rules and standards are anyway often more specific and stricter than the official laws85 (Hilhorst and Coulibaly, 1998).

These standards would also function as simple criteria and indicators (C&Is) for monitoring. They need to be presented in a way that CFMs can readily make use of. For example in Chhattisgarh, India simple “People’s Criteria” have been developed based on indigenous knowledge and experience (e.g. in yield regulation of NWFPs) under the provision of People’s Protected Area in the new state forest policy (Sharma, 2002, personal communication). CIFOR’s initiative on “Criteria and Indicators of Sustainability in Community Managed Forest Landscapes” also provides a basis for developing such standards. This system suggests use of 4 core areas for indicators on which local people can build their own sets of indicators (Ritchie et al 2000):

Examples of this “minimum environmental standards approach” can be seen in the legislation from Gambia and Tanzania (see section 3.2.1). The use of a minimum 30% canopy cover for forest exploitation as set by the central government be seen as “national minimum environmental standards” whereas local forest management is regulated by more detailed village by-laws developed through discussions amongst local citizens (forest users and other concerned villagers) and village level authorities. The forest management standards also include social elements such as fair representation; transparency; participatory decision-making; task-sharing, and benefit-sharing, etc.

Social responsibility agreements (SRAs) have also been used since 1998 in Ghana between logging companies operating on customary land (Mayers and Vermeulen, 2002). These include the right to certain forest products, the right to be consulted in the management and exploitation of their forest resources and the right to maintain cultural sites and practices without disturbance from the company. Agreements are legally enforced and overseen by national government and have effectively contributed to sustainable and equitable forest management.

4.4.3 Collect only the minimum of information needed for forest management purposes by CFMs

The requirements for data collection and analysis (often in the form of forest inventory) contribute much to the complexity and preparation time requirement for forest management plans. As a guiding principle, only the minimum amount of information should be collected according to the specific objectives of forest management. Simple systems have been devised to do this:

• blocks of forest which will have no harvesting in them for the duration of the management plan may not need to have any inventory carried out e.g. on steep slopes or in younger stands;

• wedge prisms or other simple relascope devices can be used to get rough basal area figures without the need for individual tree measurements (see section 3.3.4);

• trees can be counted rather than measured for an assessment of overall stocking;

• basal area can be used as a measure of forest condition rather than standing volume; and

• qualitative measures of forest condition can be used as an alternative to measurement e.g. canopy density; regeneration availability.

As well as the quantity of information collected, its nature is also important. For example, for the development of harvesting rules by CFMs it is much more useful to consider annual allowable cuts in terms of the number of trees which can be harvested in each diameter class in a particular part of the forest rather than by timber volume. Such information is easier to collect and to understand. Similarly, local measurement units should be used (e.g. headloads of fuelwood rather than weight in kg); numbers of poles rather than volumes.

4.4.4 Develop and build on existing practices and knowledge systems

The starting point for the development of a forest management plan for CFMs whether for livelihoods-oriented forest management or small-scale forest enterprises needs to be to establish what existing practices and management systems are already in place (or were previously in place) with a view to building on these, rather than developing an entirely new management system. For example, local people often have a considerable amount of knowledge concerning the current status of different tree species and their regeneration requirements. Such information can be used to build up simple silvicultural systems. Often local rules or arrangements may still be in place for collection of forest products – these need to be identified and documented before imposing newer management prescriptions.

4.4.5 Build capacity for research and learning amongst CFMs rather than imposing technical prescriptions

Provision for participatory research or experimentation is an important part of local forest management planning, including FMP preparation. This allows local site-specific information to be generated which can be used to continually build CFM capacity and improve on FMP implementation. It allows CFMs to identify promising silvicultural treatments in order to meet site-specific and multiple objectives. Often there is no known existing technical “solution” to a particular forest management situation. Even when there is, it is important that it can be tested by CFMs on a pilot basis to give them the confidence to apply it more widely.

FMP preparation processes and formats need to incorporate the possibility for such activities to take place and for their results to be incorporated into the FMPs at a later stage.

4.4.6 Focus on multiple objective, multi-strata forest management for a range of products and services

Transfer of forest management responsibility from state to local CFMs often takes place with the tacit assumption that whilst management responsibility will change, silviculture will continue more or less unaltered. In practice, once a new set of forest management objectives have been derived through a participatory planning process by CFMs, almost inevitably, the management activities required to achieve these objectives will also differ. Rathore and Campbell (1994) discuss a number of components of silvicultural innovation under community based (Joint forest management) in India:

• managing for multiple products (in the same space);

• multiple time horizons (different rotations for different products);

• site specific prescriptions (local level silvicultural solutions);

• landscape level linkages (aggregation of small forest patches);

• maximization of growing space (multi-storey forest management);

• encouraging natural regeneration;

• mimicking natural forest in plantations (for forests of mixed native species);

• individual plant manipulation (pruning, single tree selection, lopping); and

• innovative grazing and fire control.

Whilst timber-oriented forestry may continue to be important to CFMs, it is likely that other products and services will also be required and these may be equally if not more important. The result will be a more complex forest management system which leaves much more to the skill of the individual forest managers and for which the main source of ideas and information will be local knowledge rather then external technical advice. This level of complexity cannot be captured effectively in an FMP e.g. on an individual tree basis therefore it is important that the overall plan structure is simple allowing such detailed and site-specific resource manipulation to take place.

4.4.7 Include aspects of business planning for forest enterprise-oriented forest management planning

Income generation by forest-dependent poor is promoted in many community forestry initiatives whilst in other situations, collective forest managers have gained control of a forest resource which has some potential for income generation and employment creation through sustainable forest management and utilization. By contrast, a lack of business-oriented planning in forest management plans which incorporate a forest-enterprise approach has been identified. Business endeavours may pose considerable risks to CFMs especially if their main management objective is income generation. Without a clear business orientation, there is a danger that the proposed enterprise will fail with the consequent effects on local livelihoods and possibly on the forest resource.

The principle of including aspects of business planning within simpler FMPs is therefore particularly important. Comprehensive information on forest resources; yield estimates; market projections; cost-benefit analysis; investment planning including infrastructure development; staff training; and labour management planning may be needed.

Collective forest managers do not necessarily have to carry out all of the tasks implied by this themselves. Some could be contracted out (implying that they have some financial resources to do so). Consideration should also be given to private sector involvement in all these aspects86. Alternatively, information can be gradually expanded as the enterprise business grows. For example, starting with forest product cultivation, they could later move on to transportation, processing and marketing. This strategy avoids risks especially where CFMs have limited capacity and experience. Capacity building and information support for CFMs is also needed so that they can consider the costs and benefits of the planning exercises and decide whether they feel the costs of the exercise are too high compared with the expected profits.

4.5 FMPs as legally required documents

4.5.1 Develop the legal framework for collective forest management planning based on actual field based practices

Legal frameworks regarding FMPs for collective forest management are often developed out of regulations for logging under commercial concession management systems and are inappropriate for small scale CFMs. In most countries there has been considerable experience with pilot implementation of CFM of some type. This has often been sufficient experience to understand the needs and potentials of CFM with the result that it would be possible to restructure the legal framework to be more supportive rather than restrictive to collective forest management either for livelihood needs or as an enterprise-oriented activity.

As a general principle, all aspects of the legal requirements for FMPs should be minimized so that CFMs can operate without being too bound up by excessive regulations. Adherence to a set of clearly defined standards is a more effective way of regulation and monitoring rather than a restrictive legal framework with regard to the content of FMPs

4.5.2 Ensure sufficient flexibility in the legal framework to accommodate local needs and diversity

Legal frameworks affecting FMPs have generally proven to be a constraint to simpler FMPs especially for enterprise-oriented forest management where there are frequently more external regulations and controls. Although the legal framework is important because it validates the decentralized governance arrangements implied by participatory forest management, in most cases there is insufficient flexibility to allow for revisions, alterations and accommodation of local and site-specific needs. Therefore, during any restructuring of the legal framework, it is important to build in increased flexibility implying fewer top-down controls combined with increased local capacity and opportunity for innovation.

4.6 FMPs as instruments to regulate local forest governance87 based on multi-stakeholder agreements

4.6.1 Ensure that the forest management planning process includes the development of systems for accountability, representation, equity and decision-making

Whilst preparation of a conventional FMP as a document which simply sets out how a particular forest will be managed could be considered as a non-political action, this is no longer the case under a system for devolved local governance in forest management or collective forest management. The planning process in this case needs to emphasize the development of local systems for accountability, representation, equity, and decision-making. All these should find a place in the FMP within what may be a complex environment of different local institutions each with separate interests and capacities (see fig. 9) Four elements are critical to ensuring a local forest governance system which works (adapted from Donnelly-Roark et al, 2001):

• local institutional accountability88;

• local technical & intellectual capacity for management;

• economic strategies based on existing local resources; and

• cultural and emotional resonance.

Within this complex governance system, the preparation of collective FMPs is a sensitive and potentially risky process. It needs careful and structured facilitation to ensure that iterative discussions take place and that local people are actively involved in decision-making processes based on their perceptions and experience in forest management rather than those imposed by planners or technical “experts”.

4.6.2 Build on existing institutional structures but do not reinforce inequalities

The process of making FMPs is as important as their contents. Ideally, it is important that such FMPs should be rooted in local institutional structures with which people are familiar and which they respect. However, an additional consideration is to ensure that by using existing institutional structures inequalities of gender, religion, culture, and economic or social status or ethnicity are not simply reinforced by the legal institutionalization of a local forest management institution. This has happened in terms of the limited women's’ participation in many village forest committees in India for example. Giving official sanction to collective forest management practices through FMPs carries a risk that certain injustice or inequality may be condoned or perpetuated.

Traditional does not necessarily mean unable or unwilling to change. Hountondji (2001) points out that even the most traditional communities are based on internal pluralism (i.e. differences between individuals) and are just as unbalanced, dynamic and liable to change as any other culture in the world89.

4.6.3 Focus on empowerment of disadvantaged stakeholders

The participatory planning process which is appropriate for most CFM situations, involves a series of facilitated sessions using participatory methods with and amongst the stakeholders who will take key responsibility for FMP implementation. Often, the core decision-making group consists of all the prime stakeholders such as groups of CFMs (e.g. Community Forestry User Groups) plus other local institutions or their representatives and in many cases the local forest service representatives are involved.

Involvement of other stakeholder groups in the FMP preparation process (i.e. neighbouring villages, migratory forest users, logging companies, local government) sometimes takes place, but is often conveniently ignored because it is difficult to do. Forest-dependent people in particular are often socially weak and need a space in which they can express their concerns. It is therefore important for the planning process should be proactive in to providing this space.

There are therefore two critical steps in the FMP preparation process concerning the empowerment of disadvantaged stakeholder groups. Firstly, the stakeholder analysis which ensures that all stakeholder groups are identified with some indication of their stake and their capacity to participate. Secondly, the identification of practical ways of bringing the most disadvantaged stakeholder groups into the process of forest management planning and implementation. This is of course much harder to achieve, but an experienced proficient facilitator using appropriate participatory methods should be able to take this challenge on..

Whilst poverty reduction may not be a specific aim of collective forest management in all situations (although it often is), it is nevertheless essential to ensure that vulnerable groups are not further disadvantaged or marginalized. Ways of doing this are not always easy to identify – this being another reason why the FMP preparation process needs to concentrate on capacity building and empowerment. It is only when such groups are enabled by an experienced facilitator to input their own concerns and needs that they will start to be effective participants in the FMP preparation process.

4.6.4 Ensure a balance between individual and collective costs and benefits

Social expectation (e.g. equity and solidarity) and private economic pursuit should be carefully balanced in the benefit sharing arrangements. This is particularly important for enterprise-oriented forest management where a few people may be interested in the financial benefits from the forest whereas the majority may prefer to see the resource used for individual or subsistence use.

For example, in Nepal it is common for richer households to prefer to develop a community forest structure which focuses on trees and timber production as the main product. This is because as larger landowners they can well afford to wait for many years for such benefits to materialize whilst depending on their private lands in the meantime. Poorer households who own little or no private land are highly dependent on community forests for their subsistence needs. If they are to invest time in forest protection or even attending forest user group meetings, they need to feel that they will get sufficient short-term benefits as a result of their efforts. This may favour a forest structure which produces fuelwood and fodder as a priority (Malla, Neupane & Branney, 2003).

4.6.5 Ensure a balance between external inputs and existing local capacity

There is a tendency on the part of some advocates of community autonomy to try to keep external intervention out of the internal workings of local groups. However, there are many places where there is a lack of confidence over the accountability of decentralized local forest governance amongst local leaders and forest users. “Handing over” responsibility to communities if local institutions are weak or inequitable will not ensure effective forest stewardship. A balance is needed “between granting local powers from the ‘outside’ and taking local powers from the inside, which is unique to time, place and circumstance” (Mayers and Bass, 1999).

There is a striking difference between the gradual emergence of autonomous forest management systems and externally introduced local forest management promoted through community forestry-related government schemes. This is illustrated in fig.10.

The strength of the self-initiated model is that villagers get together first and learn, before they start negotiating with external stakeholders. They thus gain confidence and experience whilst also creating evidence of sustainable forest management. This in turn, increases their credibility and strengthens their bargaining power with other stakeholders. Under such circumstances, it may be possible for core elements of their endogenously developed forest management system to be formalized and legalized. Unfortunately, this autonomous model can not be easily replicated because it requires a certain level of trust based on high internal cohesion, good leadership, high dependence of local people on forest resources (normally), moral drive and above all, a sense of “crisis”90.

By contrast, when a local forest management system is built through an externally induced community forestry scheme it cannot be assumed that the community has an appropriate representation mechanism which is accountable to the real forest users91. There may be a risk of manipulation and dominance by the local elite in local decision-making which will require skilful facilitation by government field staff to control – often they themselves being part of the complex power relations.

4.7 A four-stage process for collective forest management planning

Based in these broad underlying principles for appropriate simpler FMPs for collective forest managers, a 4-stage FMP preparation process has been suggested. Note that these are broad stages which could be broken down into much more detailed steps to suit local situations.

The four broad steps are:

4.7.1 Stage 1: Through consensus develop local institutional structure, membership, capacity, governance arrangements and social standards

This stage is a process consisting of a series of planning exercises, meetings and public fora in order to stimulate discussions and reach consensus. This cannot be done during a single meeting. Some important areas which need to be covered include:

• agreeing clear boundaries of the forest and addressing conflicts regarding land tenure and forest use;

• identifying primary and secondary stakeholders who will be involved in the planning process;

• establishing a local forest management institution. This will depend on the local legislative framework or rules. Agreement on the constitution of the forest management institution (e.g. forest user group, forest management committee) should be based on consensus defined through culturally appropriate internal debates covering: membership and equitable representation systems; information-sharing mechanisms; decision-making mechanisms; responsibility and benefit sharing; internal sanctions; internal accountability mechanisms covering decision-making and financial management; and adequate representation of all other stakeholders;

• agreement on roles; responsibilities; rights and returns (benefits) of each stakeholder group in the local forest governance system;

• clarifying the authority and responsibility of the forest management institution relation to other internal (village level) and external institutions and stakeholder groups;

• agreeing minimum social standards;

• agreeing appropriate checks and balances (e.g. forest monitoring and financial monitoring agreement); and

• agreeing arrangement for carrying out the tasks needed for the next stage.

4.7.2 Stage 2: Develop forest management options and minimum environmental standards, local experimentation and monitoring arrangements

This stage is the one which equates most closely to the “conventional” FMP preparation process, although significant adaptations are needed to ensure that the resulting FMP is simple enough to be of real use to the collective forest managers. As with the first stage, this should consist of a series of participatory planning exercises covering the following:

• assessing the condition of the forest resource and its ability to produce different products sustainably;

• assessing local demand (or markets) for forest products;

• analysing forest-related problems and/or opportunities;

• agreeing forest management objectives and strategies (on a site by site basis within the overall forest area) and activities needed to achieve them;

• agreeing the minimum environmental standards to be applied and associated monitoring arrangement (including responsibility);

• agreeing benefit sharing arrangements and responsibilities for implementing agreed activities;

• agreeing on areas suitable for local-level experimentation and use of information obtained in this way; and

• identifying and documenting other activities needs for funds or public grants, extension and awareness activities.

4.7.3 Stage 3: Develop enterprise, marketing and business requirements

This stage is most important where at least some of the forest management activities proposed for the FMP include elements of forest enterprise. Some of the areas could be addressed by the local forest management institution themselves, but external support is also likely to be needed to:

• identify forest products with market potential;

• identify technologies for utilization and adding value;

• collect and analyse market-related information; and

• for financial and business planning (including estimation of cash flows).

4.7.4 Stage 4: Formalize and approve collective forest management agreements at local administrative level

This stage (which may not be reached until many months or even 2 years after starting the planning process) includes the formalization and legalization of the collective forest management arrangements to enable the FMP to be implemented. Several tasks are involved in this stage including:

• preparing the written FMP;

• validation of the final FMP by all stakeholders concerned (or their representatives);

• validation of the FMP on technical, social, financial and environmental criteria; and

• approval of the FMP by the legitimate body (according to legislation and rules).

79 In “Guidelines for strengthening joint forest management in India “ a letter circulated to all Forest Departments in India in February 2000 from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, extension of Joint Forest Management into “good” forest areas (crown density > 40%) is endorsed on a pilot basis.

80 In the context of this study, a working definition of governance could be “the structures and processes that determine the translation of policies and regulations into reality and the power relationships between the stakeholders involved in this process (Dubois, 2002, personal communication)”.

81 Participatory Rural Appraisal

82 This system was instigated through the Nepal-Swiss Community Forestry Project and is now becoming more widespread in Nepal.

83 Loyche-Wilkie, (2002), personal communication

84 See Dubois and Lowore (2000) and Messer (2001) for further analysis of these “4Rs”.

85 On the other hand, there is a risk that poor voiceless forest users may as well suffer from such strict local rule imposed on them (e.g. Logging ban/fencing off of the forest). Careful monitoring on “participatory” process especially in local decision-making is very important (Kubo, 2002, personal communication)

86 Arrangements could take various forms such as out-grower schemes, product supply contracts, joint ventures, out-processing, land rental for tree growing, access and compensation agreements, timber utilisation contracts, intercropping or grazing schemes, Taungya systems, eco-tourism enterprises, payments for environmental services, bioprospecting deals, credit or product supply agreements and shared equity (Mayers, 2000). Partnerships between private sectors and CFMs develop especially where companies have no alternative source of forest products due to government legislation (Mayers and Vermeulen, 2002). In South Africa and Indonesia, companies can no longer simply throw people off their land and exploit their forest in the tide of democratic social/political change (Kaimowitz, 2002).

87 In the context of this study, a working definition of governance could be “the structures and processes that determine the translation of policies and regulations into reality and the power relationships between the stakeholders involved in this process (Dubois, 2002, personal communication)”.

88 Local institutional accountability means that local groups want development initiatives to be accountable to their own local institutions – e.g. committees, councils, and traditional chiefs. Accountability only to local government or donors is not enough (Donnelly-Roark et al, 2001).

89 Forest peoples face internal and external challenges. For example, Chidley (2002) introduces indigenous societies in Indonesia in the wave of change. Decision-making within traditional indigenous communities may be hierarchical. Women, the poorest members of the community - particularly the landless or low status families - and seasonal forest users may not have a say in how resources are apportioned. And they also undergo changes: people who practiced subsistence forest farming and had little need for cash even a generation ago now want money to pay for clothing, medical care, outboard motors for canoes (and diesel for them), school uniforms and books. They are also under the pressure of the wider political and economic imperatives of international financial institutions which prioritise revenues from timber, central government policies entrenched in the past, rampant corruption, the threat of violence and intimidation arising from the weak judicial system coupled with a military and police force which continues to act with impunity. Indonesia's forest peoples are well aware of the need to adapt their institutions to a changing world and are discussing such issues as identity, sovereignty and legal representation both within their own communities and with others.

90 See Bass et al (1998) for the argument on critical importance of a sense of “crisis” in breaking institutional lethargy.

91 As opposed to it, local elites may co-opt the process and often reap the benefits of “participation” (Dubois, 2002, personal communication).

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