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Final evaluation of Maharashtra Social Forestry Project

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 12:08 PM
Contributors: USAID India

The USAID assisted Social Forestry Project was launched in Maharashtra State in 1982 with the objectives of 1) increasing the supply of fuelwood, fodder, fruit and smaller timber in rural areas; 2) reducing of the rate of deforestation; and 3) increasing rural employment. The purpose of this project was to develop the ability of the state Social Forestry Department (SFD) to help farmers manage private lands and to promote community management of common land for increased and sustained production of forest products. This final evaluation focuses on the issue of sustainability raised in the Regional Inspector General's audit. Specific areas related to sustainability of project activities are highlighted, notably: privatization of seedling production, diffusion of plantations, distribution of benefits, transfer of management responsibility, and the effect of markets and prices on sustainability. The project purpose of developing the capability of the SFD to help people manage private and community lands for increased and sustained production was largely achieved. The SF staff has developed professional commitment and nearly achieved the physical target of bringing 81,000 hectares under Social Forestry in 4300 villages. Community plantations were turned over to village councils after three years as stipulated, however village councils lack the expertise and commitment to manage and replicate community plantations. The authors recommended the following: SFD should adjust its seedling prices to market levels to avoid undercutting private growers; Subsidies to private nurseries should be withdrawn gradually over several years rather than discontinued abruptly as planned;should continue extension activities after the community has taken over management of their plantations; A village subcommittee should be formed and its members properly trained by the SFD to manage community plantations; More women should be involved in all phases of the social forestry effort including the SFD; Staff for monitoring and evaluation should be strengthened and augmented with the field investigators to track plantation yields and market trends.

Author(s): USAID India

Publication Date: 1992

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