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Comparing governance reforms to restore the forest commons in Nepal, China and Ethiopia


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Presented by Peter Cronkleton of the Center for International Forestry Research at the 16th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons July 14, 2017 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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Comparing governance reforms to restore the forest commons in Nepal, China and Ethiopia

  1. 1. Comparing governance reforms to restore the forest commons in Nepal, China and Ethiopia Peter Cronkleton, Himlal Baral, Kiran Paudyal, Mani Ram Banjade, Habtemariam Kassa, Emiru Birhane, Yustina Artati, Liu Jinlong, Tu Chengyue 16th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons 14, July 2017 Utrecht, the Netherlands
  2. 2. Objective: Draw lessons from policy reforms intended to promote forest landscape restoration Examples will: • Describe national reform processes and their local manifestations • Explain how policy reforms for FLR have targeted forest commons to o Reclassify land o Designate legitimate stewards o Define acceptable land uses practices, responsibilities and benefits • Show how the devolution of rights to local user groups was usually a key turning point for slowing forest degradation
  3. 3. Nepal Case
  4. 4. Nepal Case Policy transition occurred over several decades 1957 Private Forest Nationalization Act placed all forests under state control • Intended to protect and conserve forests • Instead increased degradation 1976 National Forestry Plan • Devolved rights to local governments • Promoted local participation to establish forest plantations on public land 1988 Master Plan for the Forest Sector • Recognized community forestry as strategy for reforesting denuded mid-hills
  5. 5. Nepal Case 1993 Forest Act • Devolved control forest ‘wastelands’ to local people • Recognized rights of community forest user groups (CFUG) over devolved lands • Required CFUGs to develop constitutions and operational plans for forest management • Reduced the quasi-judicial power of forestry officials, • Granted rights indefinitely (but operational plans renewed every 5 years) Result: CF quickly scaled up nationally: • ~ 19,000 CFUGs manage 1.7 million of forests • 33% of forests; 40% of total HH (Source: DOF, 2016)
  6. 6. Nepal Case Sandhe Raniswara Dopahare (SRD), Phewa Watershed, Western Nepal Phewa watershed: 77 CFUGs, 2421 ha forests managed by 7756 HH SRD characteristics: 219 households manage a 22 ha forest for restoration Prior to 1993: • No rights over forest resources, no stake in decision-making. • Conservation activities were designed by external experts, and implemented with minimal local involvement • Residents lacked interest in participation and did not collaborate with conservation measures.
  7. 7. Nepal Case Sandhe Raniswara Dopahare (SRD), Phewa Watershed, Western Nepal After 1993 Forest Act: • SRD initiated forests restoration using their own rules • In 1995 forest management rights were officially devolved to SRD • Forest is managed for wood fuel, fodder and bedding material SRD CFUG regulations: • Invest labor for tree planting and as guards to control grazing and monitor for forest fires. • Designated collection periods for fuel wood and leaf litter • Rights (access, withdrawal, management and exclusion) are perpetual but updated every 5 years Significant increase in forest quality, possible benefits from PES and ecotourism
  8. 8. China Case
  9. 9. China Case Key Policy Trends 1981: Household responsibility system • The reallocation of agricultural land increased productivity (tenure certificate as long term lease contract) • Subsequently applied to forest lands 2003 and 2008: New Tenure reform • 99% of China’s collective forestlands devolved to individual households, household groups, investors (leases) and village collectives. • Long-term tenure security (70-year renewable contracts) • Potential subsidies for forest restoration (for those with forest tenure certificates) • Reversed trend in forest loss in the southern China
  10. 10. China Case Changting County, Western of Fujian Province Changting County Characteristics: • Area 309,900 ha, Population 500,000 Once one of most degraded counties: • One of China’s poorest counties with widespread soil erosion • Forest landscape restoration program began in 1981 • Program included exclosures, afforestation and orchard plantations By 2015: • Eroded lands reduced from 31% in 1985 to 10% • Forest coverage increased from 60% in 1986 to 80% • Annual Income increased from US$60 in 1978 to US$1110 (source: RCFEP, Renmin University)
  11. 11. China Case Changting County, Western of Fujian Province Separate policy processes for forest tenure reform and forest restoration (different levels of government and mandates) Forest Three Fixed Reform (early 1980s) • Intended to stabilize forest ownership • Delimitated boundaries for mountain exclosures • Devolved system of forest responsibility (16% of mountainous ‘forest land’ distributed to 94% of households in small parcels >1 ha) • Most forest remained collectively managed by government
  12. 12. China Case Changting County, Western of Fujian Province “Who plant, Who Own" and "Wasteland Auction" policy (1990s) • Granted certificates of forest rights to villagers investing in afforestation and plantations • Increased participation, forest cover and income Reform of collective forest rights system (2002) • Decentralization of forest rights (collective to individual) • State maintained ownership of forestland • Granted households access, use and management rights to forestland • Additional incentives reduced taxes and fees • Allowed forestland mortgage Increased enthusiasm for investments in afforestation, Diversified participation in forest landscape restoration
  13. 13. China Case Changting County, Western of Fujian Province Key Trends: Collective publicly-owned property rights provided relatively low incentives (1981-2002) Forest Three Fixed reform • Provided Insufficient incentives for management and protection • Continued ‘theft’ of forest products Collective forestry reform • Decreased theft and illegal harvests, however, no afforestation activities either, land often managed by exclosure • Villagers unwilling to invest in FLR on small remote areas and with limited rights
  14. 14. China Case Changting County, Western of Fujian Province Trends in incentives: • Individualized forest rights arrangements provide relatively high economic incentive to large households, enterprises, and cooperatives • Individual stakeholders willing to invest in afforestation to obtain economic benefits • Individualized property rights arrangements encouraged public participation and diversified participation in the restoration of forest landscape
  15. 15. Ethiopia Case
  16. 16. Ethiopia Case Policy trends: After 1975 coup, land and forests were nationalized and held as state property • Created an ‘open access’ problems for forests o Policy did not accommodate local customary practice o State agencies lacked capacity to control forests • Increased natural resource degradation • Large scale government programs to conserve soil and water on slopping and degraded lands o Massive tree planting programs on state lands o Major investments with limited success
  17. 17. Ethiopia Case Policy trends: Governmental change in 1991 maintained tenure policy but introduced reforms National Conservation Strategy (1994) • Used decentralized approach • Stressed local participation in development • Created space for NGOs to experiment with participatory forest management o Negotiated agreements between communities and regional government agencies o No formal change in property rights o Designated withdrawal (use) rights, and some management and exclusion rights
  18. 18. Ethiopia Case Chilimo Forest Chilimo Forest: Dendi district, Oromia • Designated as a National Forest Priority Areas (NFPAs) in 1991 • High deforestation during period of weak governance following violent change of government • From 1982 to 1995 forest shrank from 22,000 ha to 6,000 ha • In 1996, NGOs FARM Africa and SOS International initiated PFM as brokers
  19. 19. Ethiopia Case Chilimo Forest Chilimo Forest: Dendi district, Oromia PFM Process NGOs negotiated with District Agricultural Office technicians: • Calculated ‘carrying capacity’ of forest. Used to limit the number of participants • Defined 12 FUGs from 6 villages surrounding the forest, members of FUGs have ‘official’ access, non- members are excluded • FUGs given access, withdrawal, management and exclusion rights • In 2004 management and use rights officially transferred to the FUGs
  20. 20. Ethiopia Case Chilimo Forest The Chilimo FUG management plan • Devolved rights Included natural forest and plantations in buffer zone • Only harvest NTFPs from the natural forest (grass, medicinal plants, fuelwood) • Collective sale of timber from plantation o Less restriction on use o Considerable income for FUG participants Deforestation has been reduced and regeneration enhanced
  21. 21. Ethiopia Case Chilimo Forest Concerns: Marginalization of non-FUG families • Lack of transparency in distribution of responsibility and benefit sharing mechanisms • State agencies lack capacity to assist with enforcement of exclusion o Illegal harvest of small diameter trees o Leakage into non-PFM forests near FUGs In FUGs without plantation timber, economic returns lower than expected • However, communities expect that PFM is incremental step for gaining recognition of stronger property rights in the future
  22. 22. Conclusions • The devolution of rights to local user groups is usually a key turning point for slowing forest degradation • Governments were initially reluctant reformers and generally devolve rights partially producing co-management situations • Efficient and effective solutions result from adaptive multi- stakeholder processes involving negotiation and balance of tradeoffs
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