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Forestry and the environment: An assessment of USAID support for forest stewardship

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 12:07 PM
Contributors: Phillip E. Church, Jan Laarman

The authors evaluated USAID farm and community forestry projects that began in the 1980s in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and used this information to determine elements key to their success. Most project areas have higher rates of deforestation than of protection or reforestation, although India and Haiti are cited as exceptions. The impact of the projects aimed at countering this trend was assessed based on the behavior of participants and on the biophysical and socioeconomic changes that resulted. Critical indicators that were measured included the number of participants, the nature of management practices that were adopted, the efficiency and effectiveness of USAID support in bringing about changes, and the sustainability and local ability to replicate these projects beyond the support period. These indicators were chosen instead of changes in environmental or economic conditions, which are slow and difficult to measure. Addressing the following issues was found to be essential: Land tenure; Institutional capacity; Grassroots rather than top-down initiatives; Strength of intermediary groups; Transfer of technology; Provisions for monitoring and research; Education and awareness; Gender; National policies; Marketing; Benefits to participants; Post-funding program sustainability. Projects that addressed these issues in appropriate ways for the host country and communities had more success than those that did not. Examples of successful and non-successful recognition of these issues in project implementation are provided.

Author(s): Phillip E. Church , Jan Laarman

Publication Date: 1996

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