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Minutes of Open Session
CIFOR, August 9, 2004

Full English Report [177kb]


Country synthesis presentation

This six country study should try to answer the following key questions:

  • What are the similarities/ differences in approaches?
  • What have the results been? Do they depend on approaches or conditions?
  • What can be transferred between countries?
  • What are the key issues that need to be addressed?
  • What are the steps forward?

Countries seem to vary in how long they have engaged in forest rehabilitation. Presentations at this event suggest that Philippines started to take the issue seriously as early as 1910, while in Peru rehabilitation efforts are more recent. All the countries but Peru had an important boost in rehabilitation efforts since the 1980s or 1990s. In all the six countries policies on forest rehabilitation efforts have experienced profound changes through the years.

Some clear results can be reported from all the countries. For examples, Indonesia has managed to convert Imperata grasslands into forests, and rehabilitation efforts have contributed to strengthening communal organization. Other outcomes are less encouraging, like the simultaneous increase in grasslands elsewhere. Similar examples of significant achievements, but also challenges, can be given from the Philippines, Guangdong (China), Vietnam, Brazil and Peru.

There are quite a few lessons learned that can be reported from each country, and some of them are relevant for other countries too or more generally applicable.

Top


Discussions:

  1. Rehabilitation, reforestation, agroforestry – shouldn’t we be careful about mixing very different issues and comparing apples to oranges?

    We decided in this study that the name per se does not matter, the focus is on putting trees back on formerly forested (now degraded) land. Countries and communities have chosen a variety of approaches and incentives to rehabilitate degraded land driven by many different considerations. Differences and similarities in approaches used, their driving forces and outcomes can be compared and contrasted across countries to derive useful lessons on appropriate approaches for sustainable rehabilitation under different conditions. The types of approaches used and project objectives have also altered over time in each country in response to changing socio-economic and political forces.


  2. We should be careful while comparing changes in natural forest cover and degraded land across countries – we do not know what is included in these categories. Agroforestry may be placed under agriculture in one country’s statistics and under forestry in another country’s.


  3. Why rehabilitate, whose land to rehabilitate?

    Such questions are being asked in the review study – whose land is being rehabilitated for what and for whom, and how does this affect outcomes.

    Rehabilitation should be demand-driven, not supply or donor-driven. Large reforestation debts were incurred in the past in some Asian countries.


  4. What do we mean by lessons learnt and for whom (target audience) and for what?

    Lessons on promising rehabilitation approaches and processes across socio-economic, institutional, technical, and policy aspects for different objectives and scenarios. We first plan to find out what the main lessons/ messages are and then prepare targeted outputs to the relevant people to promote change in policies or practices. The target audience groups could include policy makers, donors, communities, NGOS, companies, and private individuals.


  5. Vietnam and Guangdong experienced recent increases in forest cover. We can learn lessons on increasing and maintaining forest cover from their experiences.


  6. What is success and how to measure success?


  7. How can we compare success between different countries with different government structure, culture, geography, etc.?
    • It is hard to measure absolute success, but we can compartmentalize success into different aspects (social, biophysical, economic). Can use indicator processes (planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation activities), indicator outputs (technical/ecological, socio-cultural, economic and institutional aspects) and other criteria to evaluate.
    • Success/ failure cannot be generalized: depends on stakeholders’ perspectives. Different groups have different criteria and by comparing across groups, we can see what are the shared components of success/ failure and where there are differences.
    • Dangerous to rely solely on stakeholders’ perceptions. Respondents might be driven by personal economic motives (example of gold miners using mercury) and there may be long-term negative outcomes. Have to look at many indicators and the long-term outcome.
    • Time of evaluation is another issue to consider: When to evaluate? Right after the project? Or a year after the completion of the project? Outcomes may be different over time.
    • Project objectives should be key criteria for project evaluation. A plan for commercial planting may not be supported by the community. A social forestry program may be accepted by the community but then the company may not be happy. We can assess biodiversity, etc., but its relevance will change depending on the objectives of the project. Also in Vietnam, it was difficult to know how to analyze success because project objectives had changed over time.
    • Environmental indicators such as water and biodiversity are difficult to measure. Results on water quality improvement based solely on perceptions of respondents are unreliable. How to measure these in projects?
    • Could develop and promote use of specific criteria and indicators for evaluating different project types among the donors and project initiating agencies. May be useful if donors could have a standard database for rehabilitation projects and then the data could be accessed by different groups for project assessment and comparison.

  8. Wide gap between policies and ground realities. Policy may sound good, but the reality is different. Stakeholders may be overlooked during the forest policy making process. How to transfer and implement policies to sustain projects in the long-term is the key.


  9. The government appears to play an important role in rehabilitation efforts, particularly in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Small scale management appears important in many places such as Brazil and Peru.
     

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