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
- Rehabilitation, reforestation, agroforestry – shouldn’t we be careful
about mixing very different issues and comparing apples to oranges?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What do we mean by lessons learnt and for whom (target audience) and
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
- Vietnam and Guangdong experienced recent increases in forest cover.
We can learn lessons on increasing and maintaining forest cover from their
- What is success and how to measure success?
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.
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.
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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