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Forestry and the environment: The Gambia case study

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:10 AM
Contributors: Donald G. McClelland, Robert E. Hall, Chris Seubert, Mary M. Young

This USAID evaluation examines the Gambia Forestry Project (GFP), which promoted woodlot management, plantations, and improved sawmill and woodstove technologies. USAID funded the project with US$ 1.575 million from 1979 to 1986. Lessons learned in implementation of the GFP guided subsequent AID investment of $22.5 million in the Agriculture and Natural Resource (ANR) project. In The Gambia, land area under closed forest and woodland savanna has declined from 60% in 1946 to 5 % in 1992 due primarily to firewood extraction. Standing timber and forest resources belong to the government, thus communities have no incentive to manage forests and tend to over-exploit forest resources. Four technologies were introduced under GFP to reduce pressures on natural forests: Community woodlots;Firewood and timber plantations;Improved sawmills;Improved woodstoves. The GFP had little biophysical impact, did not result in any significant improvement in the socio-economic well being of the people, and did not generate significant economic benefits for the national economy.Communities did not take ownership of woodlots and plantation projects, as there was no clear linkage between participation and the distribution of benefits. Community woodlots did not satisfy a need perceived by communities. Plantations did not succeed due to poor choice of species, alternative sources of firewood, and poor economic returns. Sawmill operating costs were 4 times higher than the market price of lumber and exceeded community capacity for management.The educational component of the GFP did not change behavior relative to the use of natural resources. The training program was not implemented as planned, thus institutional strengthening suffered. The Forestry Department received inadequate support and thus was unable to provide conservation extension or enforce existing laws.Building upon the relative failure of the GFP, the ANR project has adopted a CBNFM approach to improve resource management and has established community resource management agreements between users and the state. The authors conclude that local institutions and community involvement are necessary to mitigate natural resource degradation in The Gambia.

Author(s): Donald G. McClelland , Robert E. Hall , Chris Seubert , Mary M. Young

Publication Date: 1994

Location: Gambia

Download File from Portal: PNABU996 Gambia.pdf — PDF document, 2,235 kB (2,288,843 bytes)

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