1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Markets, Business and Regulation (2000 - 2009) | Event: Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development

  • Date: 15 Aug 2006
  • Location: Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Speakers: Søren Petersen, Darryl Reed, Ananya Reed, Peter Utting, Ann Zammit, Uwafiokun Idemudia, Shaheen Rafi Khan, Sofie Michaelsen
  • Project Title: Business and Poverty Reduction

Khan - The Quest for Sustainable Forest Management

1. Introduction The bulk of Pakistan’s primary forests are situated in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), with over half of the total forested area within the province concentrated in the Malakand and Hazara divisions. The two divisions cover, respectively, twenty nine percent and seventeen percent of the province’s area.Forests constitute 7.8% of the total land area within the NWFP and Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA)1. Malakand’s forest cover is estimated at 360,912 hectares -- about eight percent of the division’s area, while Hazara forest cover, at 316,318 hectares, constitutes about five percent of the division’s span. About seven percent of the NWFP’s forests are state owned, while the remaining 97% are private or guzara forests. As with most forest rich areas in Pakistan, the forest cover in Malakand and Hazara is depleted significantly. Data from the Provincial Forest Resource Inventory (1992), indicates that that eleven percent of the existing timber volume is concentrated in only 21% of the surveyed area while forty-two percent of the surveyed area contains only 16% of the standing stock. Clearly, forest productivity is low; in particular, the condition of lowland forests is precarious. Nearly 50% of these are classified as open forest stratum, accounting for a mere five percent of the surveyed timber volume. The only forests with relatively high timber volume are situated in the high-hill regions where accessibility is restricted.

The pre and post-colonial periods witnessed changes in the state of forest related institutions and management, which have been linked with deforestation and loss of community livelihoods. Among other things, the record illustrates that poor communities—small forest owners, rights holders, non-owners, women and grazers—who depend traditionally on forests for their livelihoods were steadily marginalized . Forest management, designed with the specific aim of conservation, proved unable to cope with the multiple, and often conflicting interests of commercial loggers, private developers, government and military agencies, hunters, and impoverished communities, which placed it under relentless strain. Rising prices of timber, fuel wood and forest products, an erosion in the standard of living of the forest custodians, fines and penalties that are selectively applied and fail to match the nature of the transgression, and royalties that are appropriated by the rich and powerful, have combined to create a complex of perverse incentives inimical to both conservation and livelihoods. The irony is that the key inroads into forest resources have began to be made by commercial and development groups which forest management is not in a position to oppose and in fact, cooperates with. On the other hand, it targets communities, whose needs are of an essentially subsistence nature and who - if their rights and traditions are honoured - can collaborate with the authorities in the sustainable management of forest resources.

The National Conservation Strategy (NCS), 1991, triggered a donor-led forestry reform process. In particular, it promoted participatory, community-based forest management. There followed a number of donor-driven initiatives, notably the 25-year Forestry Sector Master Plan (FSMP), the government’s National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), approved in 2001, and the National Forestry Policy, 1991, all of which strongly endorsed the involvement of communities in forest management. At the provincial level, the forestry reform process produced tangible outcomes in the form of : • The NWFP Forest Ordinance, 2002 • The Forestry Commission2 • Forestry roundtables (to act as think tanks for the Forestry Commission and as a barometer of community concerns) • Forest Development Fund (to be collected from forest royalties and expended on forest conservation and community welfare)3 • The Institutional Transformation Act, 2002 (mandates restructuring of the forest department) The NWFP Forest Ordinance, 2002, too, contains specific provisions relating to community participation – in effect, they comprise the key elements of joint forest management (JFM)...